Latuda is the brand name of lurasidone, which is an atypical antipsychotic (also known as a second-generation antipsychotic). It’s primarily used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Lurasidone was approved by the FDA in 2010. And shortly after that, it became available in several countries besides the US, including Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Thailand, and Singapore.

In the most basic sense, lurasidone works by rebalancing dopamine and serotonin in your body so you can think more clearly and you’ll feel less sad and nervous. It can also help alleviate positive symptoms of schizophrenia like hallucinations.

Treatment with Latuda: Important Things to Know Before Taking Latuda

Whether it’s for bipolar or schizophrenia, Latuda is one of several prescriptions healthcare providers have in their mental health arsenal. Because there are different options, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about your specific symptoms so you can find the right medication match. Here are some of the things your doctor may ask you before prescribing Latuda.

  • Which of your symptoms are the hardest to deal with?
  • Have you thought about suicide or attempted suicide?
  • Have you taken any medication before and how did it work?
  • Have you ever had any side effects like weight gain or tardive dyskinesia from medication you’ve taken before?
  • Is there a history of heart disease in your family—or do you have heart disease?
  • What other medical issues do you have—seizures, diabetes, high blood pressure?
  • Are you on any other medications? (Include herbal supplements in your answer if you’re taking any.)
  • What other kinds of therapy have you tried?
  • Are you pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breast feeding?
  • Do you smoke, drink, or use any other substances?

All of these questions will give your doctor a sense of what’s worked for you in the past, what’s bothering you the most, and how your body can tolerate different medication.

Another thing to know about Latuda is that doctors recommend that you not drink alcohol while you’re on the medication. Lurasidone can decrease your blood pressure, and alcohol intensifies the effect.

Report major side effects to your doctor immediately, which can include difficulty swallowing or breathing, sore throat, swelling, shortness of breath, abnormal heartbeat, fever, cough, chills, sweating, confusion, muscle stiffness, and unusual facial or body movements. A full list of the side effects is below. In addition to telling your doctor, you can also report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online.

Side Effects of Latuda

As with any medication, there may be side effects to taking Latuda. Pay attention to how you’re feeling and keep your doctor in the loop. Sometimes these side effects are more pronounced when you first start taking the medication, but everyone is different and may respond differently. Since antipsychotics are a form of sedative, many of the more common side effects are related to drowsiness and dizziness.  Here’s what you might expect:

Common side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizzy when you first stand up
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Increased saliva
  • Spikes in blood sugar
  • Cholesterol fluctuations
  • Viral infection

Less common side effects:

  • Increase in prolactin, which could lead to missed periods and breast milk production in women (even those who are not pregnant or nursing) and low sex drive and erectile problems in men.
  • Muscle related issues, like twitches, shuffling when you walk, and tremors. The technical term for this cluster of symptoms is called extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS).
  • Tardive dyskinesia. This is another technical term you may hear. It describes the slow, jerky movements you can’t control. It usually starts in your mouth with tongue rolling and chewing motions, lip-smacking, and sucking. It typically develops over time, not right off the bat. The good news is second generation antipsychotics like Latuda are not as bad as the earlier medications, such as Haldol, when it comes to this side effect.
  • Inability to regulate your body temperature. This is especially concerning if you’re doing a heavy workout or are exposed to super-hot temperatures since your body has a hard time cooling down.
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome. This one is incredibly rare, occurring in fewer than one out of a hundred people, but it’s also incredibly serious and potentially deadly. The symptoms are confusion, sweating, fever, and extreme stiffness. If you notice these, call you doctor right away.

 Dosage and Administration of Latuda

Your doctor will likely start you on the lowest dose possible and then increase slowly over the next weeks as needed. The range could be anywhere from 20 mg to 120 mg, depending on what you’re taking it for. A dose for depressive episodes of bipolar may start at 20 mg, but a starting dose to treat schizophrenia symptoms may be 40 mg. Your doctor will be the best judge on where to start you and how to incrementally increase the dose as it’s needed.

Discontinuing Latuda

Some people make the mistake of thinking they can stop taking Latuda once their symptoms start to fade. It’s important not to discontinue use of the drug if you feel better. Not only could the symptoms come back, but you may have withdrawal symptoms.

A few of the common withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Aches
  • Confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep problems
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Weight loss

Maintain contact with your doctor while you’re on Latuda and if the plan is to wean off the medication, your doctor can help guide you through that safely, and without triggering extreme withdrawal.

Overdose and Toxicity of Latuda

There isn’t any kind of treatment to reverse the effects of Latuda, so if you overdose, call 911 or the Poison Control Help Line (800-222-1222). You may need to go to the emergency room. Signs of overdose include:

  • Quick heartbeat
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizure

10 Most Common Questions About Latuda

  1. How much does Latuda cost? According to goodrx.com, 30 tablets of 40 mg Latuda cost approximately $1,050.
  1. Is there a generic version of Latuda? Yes—and no. The FDA allowed other drug makers to sell generic versions, but they won’t be available until 2023.
  1. Are there any major differences between Latuda and other antipsychotics? Latuda belongs to the class of medications known as atypical antipsychotics or second-generation psychotics. Generally, these are as effective as the first generation or typical drugs and may even have fewer side effects. Talk to your doctor about what might work best for you and the costs and benefits of taking the medication. The thing with any of these medications is that the response and effectiveness is very individualized. Some people may need to try several different antipsychotics before they find the best one for them.
  1. Can children take Latuda? The effectiveness and safety of the medication has not been tested in patients younger than 18. Talk to your child’s doctor about the risks of using the medication.
  1. Are there potential interaction issues for people taking Latuda and any other drugs? There are a lot of other drugs known to interact with Latuda—some in very minor ways and some in much more serious ways. Because of the potential for interaction, let your doctor know everything you’re taking (including natural and herbal medicine) before you start Latuda. Some of the drugs that Latuda interacts with include:
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Carbamazepine
  • Clarithromycin
  • Diltiazem
  • Erythromycin
  • Indinavir
  • Iratropium
  • Itraconazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Nefazodone
  • Nelfinavir
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Pioglitazone
  • Rifabutin
  • Rifampin
  • Ritonavir
  • Verapamil
  • Various anxiety medications
  • Sedatives, sleep medications, and tranquilizers
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Glaucoma medication

This list doesn’t include everything (not even close!). So, sorry to keep repeating it, but tell your doctor and pharmacist everything you take.

  1. Are there any other medical conditions that would make someone ineligible for Latuda therapy? Talk to your doctor about other medical conditions before you take Latuda, such as dementia, stroke, heart conditions, seizures, neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), diabetes, or tardive dyskinesia.
  1. What do I do if I miss a dose? Take the dose of Latuda when you remember. But, skip the missed dose if it it’s almost time for your next dose. You should never take extra doses of the medication to make up for missed doses.
  1. What are the potential long-term effects of taking Latuda? Are there any disadvantages to Latuda? Your doctor should monitor for progression of potential long-term side effect of atypical antipsychotics—things like tardive dyskinesia (TD). Atypical antipsychotics may also increase the risk of cardiovascular side effects, diabetes, weight gain, and high cholesterol. The biggest disadvantages of Latuda are these potential long-term side effects.
  1. Is it safe for a woman who is pregnant, about to become pregnant, or nursing to take Latuda? There have been no controlled human pregnancy studies on the effects of Latuda, but exposure to antipsychotic medication during the third trimester of pregnancy can lead to withdrawal symptoms in infants after delivery. It is not known whether the drug can be transferred via human breast milk and harm a baby, but animal studies indicate the drug may be present in breast milk and potentially harm a nursing infant. Therefore, talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are nursing before you take Latuda.
  1. Is Latuda habit-forming? Latuda has no habit-forming potential, but, as mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t discontinue Latuda before talking with your doctor since withdrawal symptoms can occur—and your symptoms may start up again.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider.  This article mentions drugs that were FDA-approved and available at the time of publication and may not include all possible drug interactions or all FDA warnings or alerts. The author of this page explicitly does not endorse this drug or any specific treatment method. If you have health questions or concerns about interactions, please check with your physician or go to the FDA site for a comprehensive list of warnings.

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Last Updated: Sep 8, 2020