You should be familiar with a dosage principle associated with the antipsychotic agents. This principle is: "High dosage-low potency/low dosage-high potency."
a. High Dosage/Low Potency. Initially when treating a psychotic patient, a psychiatrist might choose to select a drug that can be given in a high dosage (large amount of drug) because of its low potency. This allows the psychiatrist some freedom in dosage-especially if the patient is uncontrollable--without potential harm to the patient. High dosage/low potency drugs usually have a high incidence of anticholinergic side effects, but low incidence of extrapyramidal side effects.
b. Low Dosage/High Potency. After a patient has been on one antipsychotic agent and has been stabilized, the psychiatrist may choose to use another agent that can be given in smaller amounts (low dosage) because of its high potency. Usually, more potent drugs are easier to administer (that is, in tablet form). Low dosage/high potency drugs usually have a low incidence of anticholinergic side effects, but high incidence of extrapyramidal side effects
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