The nurse informs clients taking antipsychotic medication about the types of side effects that may occur and encour-ages clients to report such problems to the physician instead of discontinuing the medication. The nurse teaches the cli-ent methods of managing or avoiding unpleasant side effects and maintaining the medication regimen. Drinking sugar-free fluids and eating sugar-free hard candy ease dry mouth. The client should avoid calorie-laden beverages and candy because they promote dental caries, contribute to weight gain, and do little to relieve dry mouth. Methods to prevent or relieve constipation include exercising and increasing water and bulk-forming foods in the diet. Stool softeners are permissible, but the client should avoid laxatives. The use of sunscreen is recommended because photosensitivity can cause the client to sunburn easily.
Clients should monitor the amount of sleepiness or drowsiness they feel. They should avoid driving and per-forming other potentially dangerous activities until their response times and reflexes seem normal.
If the client forgets a dose of antipsychotic medication, he or she can take the missed dose if it is only 3 or 4 hours late. If the dose is more than 4 hours overdue or the next dose is due, the client can omit the forgotten dose. The nurse encourages clients who have difficulty remembering to take their medication to use a chart and to record doses when taken or to use a pillbox that can be prefilled with accurate doses for the day or week.