Antipsychotic drugs remain the mainstay of treatment. Medication is effective in controlling positive symptoms in about 90 per cent of acute cases. Oral administration is usually suitable, but severely disturbed patients may need intramuscular doses to start with. If there are worries that the patient may not be swallowing tablets, liquid preparations, or special tablets that dissolve quickly in the mouth, can be helpful, although such formulations are not available for all agents. Medication may need to be given for up to 4 weeks before improvement starts. If the patient requires sedation, the addition of a benzodiazepine such as lorazepam can be most helpful and will assist in avoiding excessive doses of an antipsychotic.

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