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Side Effects Must Be Addressed
Psychiatric News
Volume 41 Number 3 page 4-4

Pamela Wagner knows a thing or two about medication side effects.

When she was first prescribed haloperidol to combat symptoms of schizophrenia, her head felt like it was "full of cotton, my brain an emotionless blank.... At the same time, every motor neuron in my body urges me to pace back and forth in my room," she wrote in the book Divided Minds.

Though one of the newer antipsychotic medications helped her immensely, she reported, it caused her to gain 80 pounds, and she decided to stop taking it.

Wagner urged psychiatrists to take medication side effects seriously. Patients who complain about debilitating side effects "are not lying, and they do not prefer the symptoms of their illness over medication," she said in an interview with Psychiatric News.

Psychiatrist Carolyn Spiro, M.D., said her patients have indirectly benefited from her twin sister's experiences.

"My patients know that I will listen to them and believe them when they tell me their side effects are real," she said. "They also know I will work with them to resolve the problem."

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