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Pocket Guide to Emergent and Serious Adverse Events in Psychopharmacology

Edited by Richard Balon, M.D., and Mary K. Morreale, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-61537-453-3
  • Item #37453

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When prescribed appropriately, most psychotropic medications are fairly safe. Although some side effects are common and even expected, occasional serious—and even life-threatening—adverse effects may arise that require immediate intervention. The Pocket Guide to Emergent and Serious Adverse Events in Psychopharmacology focuses on the latter. With chapters written by a combination of experts and novices in the field, this guide provides a summary of the extant knowledge of effects that include:

  • Acute dystonia
  • Cardiac emergencies
  • Discontinuation and withdrawal
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
  • Overdose

Designed to be easily referenced, chapters are arranged alphabetically and feature sections on recognition and detection, culprit medications, assessment, management, and follow-up treatment. Concise in format and broad in scope, this reference is particularly useful for psychopharmacology beginners but serves to reinforce for all readers the importance of frequent communication with patients and their families.


  • Introduction: The Art of Prescribing and Surviving Emergent Serious Side Effects in Psychopharmacology
  • Chapter 1. Acute dystonia
  • Chapter 2. Agitation
  • Chapter 3. Agranulocytosis with clozapine and other psychotropic medications
  • Chapter 4. Benzodiazepines and opioids divided and together
  • Chapter 5. Cardiac emergencies such as arrhythmias, QTc prolongation, and cardiomyopathy
  • Chapter 6. Discontinuation of psychotropic medications
  • Chapter 7. Hepatotoxicity of psychotropic medications
  • Chapter 8. Hypertensive crisis and dietary or drug violation with monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • Chapter 9. Hyponatremia, especially in older adults
  • Chapter 10. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
  • Chapter 11. Ocular side effects of psychotropic medications
  • Chapter 12. Overdoses of psychotropic medications: antidepressants, lithium, and antipsychotics
  • Chapter 13. Polypharmacy and acute side effects
  • Chapter 14. Pregnancy: to stop or not to stop
  • Chapter 15. Psychopharmacological seizure risk management
  • Chapter 16. Serotonin syndrome
  • Chapter 17. Substances with addictive potential and psychotropic medications
  • Chapter 18. Tardive dyskinesia


    Rashi Aggarwal, M.D.
    Ashika Bains, M.D.
    Richard Balon, M.D.
    Sweta Bhoopatiraju, B.S.
    Eric Black, M.D.
    Haoxing Chen, M.D.
    Ellen L. Edens, M.D.
    Margo C. Funk, M.D., M.A.
    Memphis Diaz Garcia, M.D.
    Spencer Greene, M.D., M.S., FACEP, FACMT, FAACT, FAAEM
    George Grossberg, M.D.
    Adrienne Hicks, M.D., Ph.D.
    Marissa Hirsch, M.D.
    Oluwole Jegede, M.D., M.P.H.
    Michael D. Jibson, M.D., Ph.D.
    Sivabalaji Kaliamurthy, M.D.
    Junyang Lou, M.D., Ph.D.
    Michael Maksimowski, M.D.
    Nicholas A. Mischel, M.D., Ph.D.
    Mary K. Morreale, M.D.
    Peter J. Na, M.D., M.P.H.
    Obiora Onwuameze, M.D., Ph.D.
    Bhargav Patel, M.D.
    Jeffrey J. Rakofsky, M.D.
    Urja Shah, M.A. D.O.
    Edward Silberman, M.D.
    Harjinderpal Singh, B.S., B.Ed.
    Vladan Starcevic, M.D., Ph.D., FRANZCP
    Katherine Taljan, M.D.
    Adele C. Viguera, M.D., M.P.H.
    Sanya Virani, M.D., M.P.H.
    Art Walaszek, M.D.
    Aaron Wolfgang, M.D.
    Nagy A. Youssef, M.D., Ph.D.

About the Authors

Richard Balon, M.D., is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences and Anesthesiology and Associate Chair for Education and Faculty Affairs, and Program Director in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan.

Mary K. Morreale, M.D., is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, and affiliated with Karmanos Cancer Center.

Doctors Balon and Morreale, along with renowned educators and clinicians, have joined forces to describe the top clinical psychopharmacologic worries for which all mental health providers, primary care providers as well as other clinicians, should know about and for which to be on the alert.—Michelle Riba, M.D., M.S., University of Michigan School of Medicine

This needed and very readable text focused on emergent and serious adverse events, we all ecounter in psychiatric clinical practice, should be on the desk or back pocket of every clinician doing modern psychopharmacology.—Ira D. Glick, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry & Behavioral SciencesDepartment of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine

Pocket Guide to Emergent and Serious Adverse Events in Psychopharmacology is a valuable addition to my library and will be an even more valuable addition to the pockets, if not the offices and call rooms, of psychiatric trainees and practitioners. In the first chapter the editors state the Pocket Guide is mostly for psychopharmacology beginners but after over 40 years in the field, I hardy see myself as a beginner, yet I plan to refer this guide often. It is for all of us who prescribe psychotropics. The chapters are carefully selected, uniformly well-written, clinically relevant, concise enough to be read in their entirely at one sitting, and the references are up to date. I especially liked the addition of a brief section on follow-up management after the section on management and the succinct list of key points at the end of each chapter. The only thing I found missing was a chapter on suicidal thoughts and behavior. I will definitely recommend this pocket guide to residents and clinical colleagues.—Sidney Zisook, M.D., Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UC San Diego

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