What are the side effects of zotepine?

Zotepine is an antipsychotic medication that is primarily used to treat schizophrenia. Like all medications, zotepine can cause side effects. In this article, we will explore the various side effects associated with zotepine use, including both common and rare side effects.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects associated with the use of zotepine include sedation, dizziness, dry mouth, and constipation. These side effects are generally mild and go away over time as the body adjusts to the medication. In some cases, the sedative effects of zotepine may be beneficial for individuals who struggle with insomnia or have difficulty sleeping.

Weight Gain

Weight gain is another common side effect associated with the use of zotepine. This can be a concern for individuals who are already overweight or who have a history of obesity. Studies have shown that zotepine is associated with a higher risk of weight gain than other antipsychotic medications, such as risperidone and olanzapine.

Metabolic Effects

In addition to weight gain, zotepine can also cause metabolic disturbances, such as high blood sugar levels and increased cholesterol levels. These metabolic effects can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which are already more common among individuals with schizophrenia.

Tardive Dyskinesia

Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a movement disorder that can occur with the long-term use of antipsychotic medications, including zotepine. TD is characterized by involuntary movements of the face and body, such as lip smacking, tongue protrusion, and eye blinking. The risk of developing TD increases with long-term use of antipsychotic medications and is more common in older adults.

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a rare but potentially life-threatening reaction to certain medications used to treat mental health conditions, including zotepine. NMS is characterized by fever, muscle rigidity, and altered mental status and requires immediate medical attention. The risk of developing NMS is rare but increases with the use of high-dose antipsychotic medications.

Other Side Effects

Other potential side effects associated with the use of zotepine include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Urinary retention
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Orthostatic hypotension (a drop in blood pressure upon standing)
  • Seizures (although this is rare)


Zotepine is an effective medication for the treatment of schizophrenia, but like all medications, it can cause side effects. Common side effects include sedation, dizziness, dry mouth, and constipation. Weight gain, metabolic effects, tardive dyskinesia, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome are all potential but less common side effects associated with the use of zotepine. If you are taking zotepine or are considering it, it is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider. They can help you weigh the potential risks and benefits and monitor you for any potential side effects.

There are various forms of drugs available, such as tablets or liquids, and each may have a separate patient information leaflet (PIL) for different doses. It is important to refer to the PIL for the specific form and dose of the drug that you have been prescribed.

You can search for further information and PILs on websites such as:

  • The British National Formulary (BNF)
  • Electronic medicines compendium (emc)
  • The National Library of Medicine's DailyMed
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 
  • Different drug forms like tablets or liquids have specific patient information leaflets (PIL) for various doses. Refer to the PIL for your prescribed drug form and dose.

    Search for PILs on websites like:


    • ANSM (Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé): ansm.sante.fr


    • AEMPS (Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios): aemps.gob.es


    • BfArM (Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte): bfarm.de


    For questions about your medication:

    • Consult your doctor, a healthcare professional, or a pharmacist


    • Contact SOS Médecins: 3624
    • For mental health support, contact SOS Suicide: 01 45 39 40 00

    Belgium (French)

    Switzerland (French)

    • La Main Tendue: 143
    • Website: 143.ch

    Canada (French)

    • Centre de prévention du suicide du Québec: 1 866 APPELLE (1 866 277-3553)
    • Website: cpsquebec.ca


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Teléfono de la Esperanza: 717 003 717


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Telefonseelsorge: 0800 111 0 111 or 0800 111 0 222


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Telefono Amico: 199 284 284


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact 113 Zelfmoordpreventie: 0800 0113


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Sos Voz Amiga: 21 354 45 45, 91 280 26 69, or 96 352 46 60

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