Neuroleptics are the cornerstone for both the acute treatment and
prevention of most schizophrenic episodes. The authors review the current
practical information available for the clinical management of acute
episodes and maintenance therapy, including dosage schedules, plasma level
determinations, and side effects. All neuroleptics given in equivalent
doses produce approximately the same degree of antipsychotic activity. The
most common cause of treatment failure in acute psychosis is an inadequate
dose, and the most common cause of relapse is patient noncompliance.
Maintenance medication should be given at the lowest dose that will sustain
improvement. The authors also discuss several new alternative drug
treatments to neuroleptics.