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Geodon (Ziprasidone) Side Effects, Withdrawal and FAQs

Geodon (ziprasidone) is an atypical second generation antipsychotic medication (SGA) which has been available since 2001 in the US.
Studies have shown a link between Geodon and risks to the heart, however, the drug causes weight gain to a lesser degree than most other SGA’s.
There is much research that has been done on Geodon, and much more that hopefully can be done in the future.

We will cover information relating to side effects, withdrawal, and some other FAQ’s that may also be helpful for someone who is considering starting or stopping this medication. If more information is needed, it is freely available on request.

What is Geodon (Ziprasidone) Used For?

Geodon (ziprasidone) is FDA approved for treating schizophrenia, acute mania, and mixed episodes of mania and depression. (1)

Off-label uses have also arisen, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • PTSD
  • OCD
  • Aggression/Agitated State, Acute agitation
  • Paranoid disorder
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Tourette syndrome

For acute agitation or similar conditions where a person may need to be quickly medicated, a liquid form of Geodon is available for muscular injection.

Other forms of the drug come in pill form and pill bioavailability is 50% better when taken after eating.

Geodon (Ziprasidone) Alternative Names and Slang

Geodon does not have a presence as a street drug, however, it is possible for drugs to wind up being sold illegally through diversion. Geodon (Ziprasidone) is not a highly sought after drug of abuse.

Ziprasidone is the generic name for Geodon. The generic drug is also called ziprasidone systemic.

Geodon (Ziprasidone) Side Effects

There are some troubling, though relatively rare, side effects and health risks that can occur while taking Geodon, some that caused the FDA to place a black box warning on the drug packaging. (1)

These include:

  • Increased mortality in elderly patients where signs of dementia-related psychosis are present
  • Risk of stroke, mini-stroke, other heart issues
  • Dystonia (repetitive and sustained muscle contractions)
  • DRESS (a life-threatening skin rash that can spread and cause ulcers in and under skin, mucous membranes such as the throat, mouth, eyes, and internal organs including liver, pancreas, etc.)
  • Akathisia (compulsive and unrelenting need to stay in motion, sometimes severe enough to induce suicidal ideation for relief)
  • Parkinsonism (stiffening muscles, rigidity, inability to move)
  • Mania in bi-polar patients
  • Heart issues i.e. palpitations, tachycardia, fainting, etc.
  • Birth defects (found in animal studies, no human trials were done but data has been collected for statistical purposes) (2)

There are many other side effects commonly associated with Geodon; these can range from mild to severe, including (but not limited to) these:

  • Digestive issues, i.e. loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
  • Fainting, especially if getting up too quickly from a seated or lying position
  • Losing consciousness
  • Enlarged breasts, nipple discharge
  • Fatigue, drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Involuntary motor movements, i.e. muscle tics, tremors, rolling tongue, facial contortions, etc.
  • Shuffling walk
  • Muscle pain
  • Symptoms of a cold, I.e. runny or stuffed nose, sneezing, etc.
  • Coughing
  • Lack of energy

These symptoms may change over time, and if they intensify a person should seek medical attention immediately to ensure health and safety. 

Geodon (Ziprasidone) Withdrawal Symptoms

Geodon side effects can become intolerable and this may lead to the decision to come off the drug.

Unless there is a medical reason to do so, as will be covered in more detail below, never abruptly stop taking a drug like Geodon, as doing so can protract the process significantly.

Safely and gradually tapering from Geodon is the recommended procedure in withdrawal. It may take weeks or even several months to gently taper off, and you may require special help to meet all of the challenges and changes.  One withdrawal side effect to monitor closely is a return of symptoms that may occur after stopping an antipsychotic medication. Mania or depression, psychosis or an agitated state may reappear once the medication has been stopped.

Seek competent medical guidance should you decide to discontinue taking Geodon, and talk to your doctor about the steps you need to take for successful and gentle tapering. More information on this topic is included in the section of this article entitled “Discontinuing/Quitting Geodon” which you can find below.

Certain withdrawal symptoms typically associated with cessation are:

  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidality
  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations (visual or audio)
  • Mood swings
  • Delusions
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia or changes in sleep pattern
  • Chills
  • Confusion, difficulty with concentration
  • Hot flashes
  • Memory loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Racing heart
  • Weakness
  • Sweating

The severity of these symptoms can depend on such things as the duration of the prescription,  the dosage, general health, metabolism rate, age, and many other factors.

There are ways to help stay healthy and encouraged during a taper, and assistance may be needed to prepare meals, provide comfort and encouragement, or other day to day tasks that would be difficult to do without some personal support.

Inpatient treatment can often make a significant difference in the ease and comfort of withdrawal.

Discontinuing/Quitting Geodon (Ziprasidone)

Oftentimes, Geodon is given to a person who is in a crisis. Antipsychotics are commonly used to control extreme episodes. Unfortunately, little attention is given to whether or not the crisis is a temporary situation. More times than not, the person is left on a high dose, under the assumption that their diagnosis is permanently fixed. Although it is relatively easy to find doctors who will induct these kinds of medications, it is often a virtual ghost town when it comes to finding a professional who is versed in how to properly reduce or eliminate the medication when that time comes. You may find that you have to provide information to your doctor that he or she was not aware of when it comes to medication reduction. The subject is not taught in medical school.

Always seek competent medical guidance should you decide to discontinue a medication like Geodon, and talk to your doctor about the steps you need to take for successful and gentle tapering.

Also, be sure to ask your doctor if they are familiar with the steps you need to take for a successful cessation outcome.

Geodon (Ziprasidone) FAQs

The following are some of the most asked questions about certain Geodon effects, and other important topics of interest. If more information is needed on these or other topics, please contact us and we will help.

Does Geodon “Make You Feel High?”

There are anecdotal reports that indicate that some people have used Geodon to get high, but the drug is not known to be actively sought on the street as a popular drug of abuse or for pleasure seeking.  The high has been described as similar to a marijuana high.

Though illegal drugs are available online and sometimes mistakenly through diversion, anyone is risking their health by experimenting with antipsychotic medications.  These are potent drugs that can have potentially life-changing consequences, and grave health risks.

What is the Difference between Geodon and Seroquel?

Both Geodon and Seroquel are antipsychotic medications, prescribed for the same FDA approved and off-label uses. They are both available as oral medications, but Geodon also can be given intramuscularly by injection.

Both drugs cause the same very long and diverse list of side effects.

Half-life of each is virtually the same, six to seven hours.

Seroquel appears to be significantly cheaper than Geodon.

Seroquel has been around since 1997, and Geodon was FDA approved in 2001.

Beyond that, the two drugs are remarkably similar.

Can Geodon Cause Tardive Dyskinesia (TD)?

Geodon, like all antipsychotic medications, carries a risk of Tardive Dyskinesia. This is a complex condition that is caused by certain medications and in most cases, sadly, it is irreversible. Some rare cases have been reported where a person stopped their antipsychotic medication and the tardive dyskenisia symptoms improved. Tardive dyskinesia has occurred after short duration antipsychotic use and after long-term use as well. There is some evidence of switching medications with successful results in some cases. (3)

Always talk to your physician to ensure you understand such risks of medication.

Here are some of the repetitive and involuntary symptoms seen in Tardive Dyskinesia:

  • Tongue rolling
  • Puckering or smacking the lips
  • Tongue protrusion or thrusting
  • Jaw clenching
  • Chewing motion
  • Facial grimaces or unusual expressions
  • Blinking or other rapid and uncontrolled eye movements
  • Similar jerking repetitive and uncontrolled body motions as well as facial ticks

Treatment for Geodon (Ziprasidone) Abuse and Addiction?

Rather than deal with the extreme changes all on your own, it may seem more appealing to do the withdrawal in a comfortable and private inpatient setting, where meals are prepared, and a stress-free environment is offered, with adequate nurturing support, monitoring and personal attention.

Our center provides a peaceful and relaxed setting, with the advantages of friendly support staff and caring therapists, nurses and doctors. Our staff shares a common passion of helping their clients succeed.

The task of improving health during the reduction of, and possibly completely coming off prescription drugs, is one that requires competence, technical proficiency and caring. For more information on our facility’s excellent, compassionate and effective inpatient treatment, please contact us.


This content has been reviewed, and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. John Motl, M.D.

Dr Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona.  He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine.  Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.

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