Published: 6 March 2014

Atypical Antipsychotics Interacting with CNS Depressants

Prescriber Update 35(1): 15
March 2014

Healthcare professionals are reminded that the concomitant use of atypical antipsychotics (eg, quetiapine and risperidone) with other central nervous system (CNS) depressant medicines (eg, benzodiazepines) should be undertaken with caution.

Concomitant use of these centrally acting medicines has the potential to increase adverse effects such as somnolence, drowsiness and sedation. This is particularly important in obese patients or those with a history of sleep apnoea, who may be more sensitive to the effects of these medicines.

Healthcare professionals are encouraged to report any adverse events, including the potential interaction between atypical antipsychotics and other CNS depressant medicines, to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM).

Reports may be submitted via the Medsafe website ( or by reporting directly to CARM (