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Geodon Withdrawal Help, Ziprasidone Side Effects, Treatment Help

This entry was posted in Antipsychotic on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on July 21, 2021 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr John Motl MD

An antipsychotic is usually prescribed during a time of crisis — little thought generally goes into what Geodon withdrawal help might look like after the crisis, nor the degree that ziprasidone side effects may begin to eclipse any treatment benefits.

Considering the side effects and loss of passion that typically comes with antipsychotics, you might wonder if a lifetime of being medicated is really necessary. Yet, any attempts at coming off previously may have been a repeat of the same disaster. Alternative to Meds Center has designed a program to enable safe reduction and in many cases complete Geodon withdrawal.

Do Your Symptoms
Require Geodon?

geodon withdrawal
Alternative to Meds has been an expert on antipsychotic withdrawal and Geodon alternatives for over 15 years. Alternative to Meds Center has published evidence regarding our success. We have found that there are usually predictable contributors to the original event, like drug use, deplorable diet, or even genetic polymorphisms that might be better managed holistically. Researchers have looked at whether these types of drugs actually further develop impairment and psychotic features by upregulating dopamine receptors and other important questions that may help understand better treatment options.6

Withdrawal from a medication like Geodon can be truly confusing. With all the trauma of having been to the hospital, and sometimes even near-death experiences, one may conclude that remaining on the medication and enduring the side effects is the wisest choice.
We have a 75% long-term success rate eliminating antipsychotic use. There are reasons why your loved one got put on antipsychotics, and there are other ways to discover what those reasons are and directly treat those deficiencies which could reduce or even eliminate the need for drugs altogether.
There is much research that has been done on Geodon, and much more that hopefully can be done in the future. Below, we will cover information relating to Geodon withdrawal, side effects, and some other FAQs 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.
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What is Geodon Used For?

Geodon (ziprasidone) is an atypical second-generation antipsychotic medication (SGA) that has been available since 2001 in the US. Studies and case reports have shown a link between Geodon and risks to the heart, however, the drug causes weight gain to a lesser degree than most other SGAs.11,12

Geodon (ziprasidone) is FDA approved for treating schizophrenia, acute agitation in schizophrenic patients, bipolar mania, and mixed episodes of mania and depression.1,7

Antipsychotic medications in all their many versions are not a cure for the conditions for which they are prescribed. The field of research has shown there are gaps in the understanding of conditions such as schizophrenia, and that drug therapy alone may not produce results that lead to a more satisfying quality of life. We highly recommend learning more about alternatives to antipsychotic medications to enhance the quality of each and every beautiful life, at whatever stage of healing a person may find themself.13

There are other conditions that drugs such as Geodon are prescribed for besides the officially FDA-approved uses. According to a 2012 review of the medical literature, there is not sufficient evidence of the efficacy of any off-label prescribing of atypical antipsychotics. The FDA put a black box warning on Geodon specifically warning against the increased risk of death for dementia patients. Nonetheless, the practice of off-label prescribing continues. 8

Off-label uses for Geodon include:

  • Depression 
  • Autism
  • PTSD
  • OCD
  • Aggression/agitated state, acute agitation in dementia
  • Paranoid disorder
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Tourette’s 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 much reason for concern.

Geodon (ziprasidone) Alternative Names and Slang

Geodon has developed less of a street presence than similar atypical antipsychotic drugs such as Quetiapine. However, any drug can wind up being sold illegally through diversion. Geodon (ziprasidone) flattens out sensations rather than enhancing them. However, research shows that some drug users may use antipsychotics as a way to end off a binge of stimulant drugs, or as a way to counteract other drug adverse effects.5,9

Ziprasidone hydrochloride is the generic name for Geodon in capsule form. The generic drug in injectable form is called ziprasidone mesylate.1

Geodon 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 the skin, mucous membranes such as the throat, mouth, eyes, and internal organs including the liver, pancreas, etc.)
  • Akathisia (compulsive, unrelenting need to stay in motion, sometimes so severe as 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
  • 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, according to the manufacturer’s drug label.1

Geodon Withdrawal Symptoms

geodon withdrawal symptomsGeodon 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:

  • 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.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

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.

Geodon 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.

The 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.10 Some rare cases have been reported where a person stopped their antipsychotic medication and the tardive dyskinesia 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 Abuse and Addiction?

treatment for geodon abuseRather 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 for helping their clients succeed.

For coming off medications such as Geodon, the center offers a vast number of therapies to assist and ease the process, in a safe and well-staffed, welcoming inpatient facility. You can visit our services overview page to get more information on these support services while inpatient at Alternative to Meds Center.

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


1. Geodone (Ziprasidone HCl) FDA drug label  [Revised 2008 Jun] [cited 2021 July 20]

2. Iqbal M et al., “The Potential Risks of Commonly Prescribed Antipsychotics During Pregnancy and Lactation” US National Library of Medicine [2005 Aug 2] PMID 21152171 [cited 2020 Nov 30]

3. Sharma A , Ramaswamy S, Dewan VK , “Resolution of Ziprasidone-Related Tardive Dyskinesia With a Switch to Aripiprazole” US National Library of Medicine, [2005] PMID 15841193 [cited 2020 Nov 30]

4. Albert P, “Why is depression more prevalent in women?” J Psychiatry Neurosci. July 2015 PMID 26107348 [cited 2020 Nov 30]

5. Kutcher S et al., “ExpertCanadian consensus suggestions on the rational, clinical use of ziprasidone in the treatment of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders.” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment [2005 Jun] PMID 18568067 [cited 2020 Nov 30]

6. Silvestri S, Seeman MV, Negrete JC, Houle S, Shammi CM, Remington GJ, Kapur S, Zipursky RB, Wilson AA, Christensen BK, Seeman P. Increased dopamine D2 receptor binding after long-term treatment with antipsychotics in humans: a clinical PET study. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2000 Oct;152(2):174-80. doi: 10.1007/s002130000532. PMID: 11057521. [cited 2021 July 21]

7. Bouchette D, Fariba K, Marwaha R. Ziprasidone. [Updated 2021 Jun 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448157/ [cited 2021 July 21]

8. Maher AR, Theodore G. Summary of the comparative effectiveness review on off-label use of atypical antipsychotics. J Manag Care Pharm. 2012 Jun;18(5 Suppl B):S1-20. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2012.18.s5-b.1. PMID: 22784311. [cited 2021 July 21]

9. Kim S, Lee G, Kim E, Jung H, Chang J. Quetiapine Misuse and Abuse: Is it an Atypical Paradigm of Drug Seeking Behavior?J Res Pharm Pract. 2017;6(1):12-15. doi:10.4103/2279-042X.200987 [cited 2021 July 21]

10. Vasan S, Padhy RK. Tardive Dyskinesia. [Updated 2021 May 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448207/ [cited 2021 July 21]

11. Lieberman JA, Stroup TS, McEvoy JP, Swartz MS, Rosenheck RA, Perkins DO, Keefe RS, Davis SM, Davis CE, Lebowitz BD, Severe J, Hsiao JK; Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) Investigators. Effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs in patients with chronic schizophrenia. N Engl J Med. 2005 Sep 22;353(12):1209-23. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa051688. Epub 2005 Sep 19. Erratum in: N Engl J Med. 2010 Sep 9;363(11):1092-3. PMID: 16172203. [cited 2021 July 21]

12. Harrigan EP, Miceli JJ, Anziano R, Watsky E, Reeves KR, Cutler NR, Sramek J, Shiovitz T, Middle M. A randomized evaluation of the effects of six antipsychotic agents on QTc, in the absence and presence of metabolic inhibition. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2004 Feb;24(1):62-9. doi: 10.1097/01.jcp.0000104913.75206.62. PMID: 14709949. [cited 2021 July 21]

13. Abbott, A. Schizophrenia: The drug deadlockNature 468,158–159 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/468158a [cited 2021 July 21]


Originally Published May 20, 2019 by Diane Ridaeus


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 of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated from 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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Geodon Withdrawal Help, Ziprasidone Side Effects, Treatment Help
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