Alternative to Meds Center has helped many patients to successfully complete Geodon tapering, or for some, to reduce to a more tolerable dosage level.


There are many factors to consider regarding tapering from atypical antipsychotic medications such as Geodon, (generic name ziprasidone) including improvements to the quality of life through reduction or elimination of side effects, as well as stable, sustainable, improvement in mental wellness.

tapering off geodonPatients diagnosed with schizophrenia or mania associated with bipolar disorders have various challenges facing them, not the least of which is the long term efficacy or lack thereof in drug-based treatments. Another challenge is the significant side effects that are commonly viewed as intolerable when taking antipsychotics, especially when long-term use is often a default strategy in traditional treatment settings. There are other approaches to be considered.

A double-blind study from 2005 demonstrated these two challenges clearly, in that the vast majority of persons taking antipsychotic medications, namely perphenazine, ziprasidone, quetiapine, risperidone, and olanzapine, for chronic schizophrenia opted to discontinue their medication before the end of the 18-month trial, because of intolerable side effects or a dwindling efficacy of the drugs they were assigned in the study. (1) 

Studies have been done showing this reduction in efficacy that have led many physicians and caregivers to take a closer look at other treatment options than simply drugging the patient for life. There is evidence that long-term use of antipsychotic medications actually can cause the brain to shrink over time, and that follow-ups performed 7 years and 15 years later of those who managed to safely discontinue the medication had better outcomes than those who continuously took antipsychotic medications for the same numbers of years. (2) (3)

What is the Exact Mechanism of Action of Geodon?

The exact mechanism of action of Geodon is unknown. However, what is known is that Geodon has an effect on various central nervous center receptors and neurotransmitters (natural hormones or chemicals) that are located throughout the body and the brain. Geodon has an effect upon serotonin, dopamine and histamine receptors and functionality.

While much vernacular on drug information tends to refer to serotonin, dopamine, etc. as being so-called “brain chemicals”, one must observe anatomic facts when trying to understand such a complex and amazing structure as the human body, and the human brain. Serotonergic, dopaminergic and histaminergic receptors and transmitters (chemicals) are found primarily in the GI tract. In fact, 95% of the body’s serotonin is found in the bowels.

Healthy bowels as well as an optimally functioning digestive system, then, would seem vitally important in recovery of healthy neurochemistry as part of any recovery program. The Alternative to Meds Center does view it this way. Many aspects of the program focus on this critically important segment of healing and regaining health, to the benefit of clients who have reported great success with this approach.

Why So Many Side Effects from Geodon and Similar Drugs?

Histamine receptors are found in the heart, the liver, the gut, and throughout the body where histamine functions in many vital body functions. Likewise, dopamine receptors and the neurotransmitter dopamine are found in the kidneys, in blood vessels where dopamine acts as a vasodilator, and throughout the entirety of the immune system, where dopamine acts as a dampener of inflammation in every part of the body. In fact, these three neurotransmitters, serotonin, histamine, and dopamine, have thousands of vital functions in the human body, coordinating, regulating, and optimizing healthy function throughout.

Is it any wonder then, that a drug such a Geodon, a drug that aggressively manipulates natural hormones and neurotransmitters, can have such a long list of side effects that can lead to distress or injury in virtually every organ and system of the body?  And just as these changes are evident while taking antipsychotic medication, during the process of Geodon tapering these factors also play an important role. Supporting and boosting normalized neurochemical function is of prime importance.

Understanding the Role of Nutrition in Recovery and Stable Wellness

Understanding the powerful role of nutrition and diet, as well as targeted dietary supplements can help reduce the discomfort and support normalization of neurochemistry during a gentle and well-supervised Geodon tapering or dose reduction experience.

There is a growing body of research that has found nutrition also can play a powerful and significant supporting role in the treatment and management of symptoms of schizophrenia, the mania associated with bipolar conditions, and many other physical and mental symptomologies, especially those that have been somewhat carelessly relegated to drugging as a first-line and too-often sole treatment model. (5)

Alternative to Meds Center takes an orthomolecular, nutrition-based approach in tandem with two other important factors in recovery. These are neurotoxin removal through gentle but effective methods, along with counseling and life coaching strategies to give our clients the absolute most effective set of treatment protocols available for efficient effective recovery.

Geodon Tapering Must Be Done Slowly

Antipsychotic medications can alter the body and its neurochemistry in many ways, probably more than is entirely understood at this time. The body has an amazing bio-capability to adapt itself to the presence of toxins and injurious substances. For example, toxins tend to be stored safely away in fatty areas, as a protective measure. Another example is that the body will build many new dopamine receptors where the existing ones are blocked (made inactive) by the presence of drugs such as Geodon. These are the types of adaptations that the body engineers when a person takes a drug continuously over a period of time.

To suddenly withdraw the drug that the body has now adapted itself to in probably thousands of ways, can be disastrous, even life-threatening. Enough time must be allowed for the body to return to a drug-free state without shock, and micro-adjustments are necessary to make the transition a smooth one.

Find Out More

Please contact the center where one of our friendly and knowledgable staff is happy to help answer any specific or general questions about our Geodon tapering program, as well as assist with insurance queries and any other matters of interest to you or your loved one.


(1) NIMH article published  in the US National Library of Medicine 2005, “Effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs in patients with chronic schizophrenia”, (Lieberman, McEvoy, Swartz, Rosenheck, Perkins, Keefe, Davis SM, Davis CE, Severe, Lebowitz, Hsiao) accessed December 14, 2019 online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16172203/

(2) PLoS article published in the US National Library of Medicine 2015,  “Antipsychotic Maintenance Treatment: Time to Rethink?”, (J Montcrieff) accessed December 14, 2019 online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4524699/

(3) NIMH article in US National Library of Medicine 2007, “Factors involved in outcome and recovery in schizophrenic patients not on antipsychotic medications: a 15 year follow-up study”, (Harrow, Jobe) accessed December 14, 2019 online:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17502806/

(4) Scientific American article 2010, “Think Twice: How the Gut’s ‘Second Brain’ Influences Mood and Well-being” ((Hadhazy) accesssed December 14, 2019 online: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/

(5) College of Family Physicians of Canada article 1975, “Nutrition and Schizophrenia” (A. Hoffer), accessed December 14, 2019 online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2274561/

  



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

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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