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 for Geodon include:
- Depression *
- Aggression/Agitated State, Acute agitation
- Paranoid disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder
- Tourette syndrome
*Women are diagnosed with depression more often than men according to Dr. Paul Albert.4 Women of childbearing age should take note that in clinical drug trials on pregnant rabbits, birth defects and stillborn births showed a statistically significant outcome.
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. Bioavailability improves by 50% when taken after eating.1
Geodon (Ziprasidone) Alternative Names and Slang
Geodon has developed no real presence as a street drug. However, any drug can wind up being sold illegally through diversion. Geodon (ziprasidone) is not sought after by pleasure-seekers as it flattens out sensations rather than enhancing them.5
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. Of particular note, some are severe, causing the FDA to place a black box warning on the drug packaging.1
Severe Geodon side effects 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 bipolar 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
Common side effects of Geodon include:
- 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
- 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.
- 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, according to the manufacturer’s drug label.sup>1
Geodon (Ziprasidone) Withdrawal Symptoms
Geodon side effects can become crushingly 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.
Geodon withdrawal symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
- Hallucinations (visual or audio)
- Mood swings
- Insomnia or changes in sleep pattern
- Confusion, difficulty with concentration
- Hot flashes
- Memory loss
- Heart palpitations
- Racing heart
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.1
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 Geodon withdrawal.