Knowing Psychotropic Medications

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Learning psychotropic medications can be quite challenging for social workers taking the LCSW/LMSW exam. However, once you get this part down, you pretty much have it in the bag. These questions are usually very straightforward (providing a disorder, recognize the correct drug). It has nothing to do with your reasoning skills.

While it is important to study psychotropic medications, try not to dread too much because you will probably only get 1 to 3 questions on this particular topic. However, that 1 or 3 points will serve as a good cushion in passing the exam.

Let’s get to the study part!


First, you can download the Quick Reference to Psychotropic Medication by clicking here

If the Quick Reference feels too overwhelming, try to study from the list of commonly used psychotropic medications below:

ANTIDEPRESSANTS:

SSRI

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)

Not SSRI

  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Phenelzine (Nardil)
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • Trazodone (Desyrel)

        *The generic names are color-coded to help you recognize the pattern of how the names end with -ine and -pram.The bolded medication names indicated SSRIs. In addition to treating depression, SSRI medications have shown efficacy in treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 

ANTI-ANXIETY:

  • Alprazolam ( xanax)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Buspirone (Buspar)

        * Notice that the generic names end with -pam or -lam

BIPOLAR DISORDER: (Mood stabilizer)

  • Lithium
  • Carbamazepine, (Tegretol)
  • Diavalproez (Depakote)
  • Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)
  • Topiramate (Topamax)

*Okay, these are tricky to remember. If you still have trouble, at least be able to recognize the popularly used mood stabilizers: Lithium, Tegretol, Depakote, Trileptal, Topamax 

PSYCHO-STIMULANTS (treating ADHD)

  • Amphetamine (Adderall)
  • Lisdexamphetamine (Vyvanse)
  • Methyphenidate (Concerta)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)

       *Notice the Phe in the generic names

ANTIPSYCHOTICS

  • Risperidone (Risperdal)
  • Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • Haloperidol (haldol)
  • Paliperidone (Invega)
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Ziprasidone (Geodon)
  • Asenapine (Saphris)
  • Aripiprazole (Abilify)

*If you absolutely have a hard time remembering the names, at least try to remember: Risperidone, Thorazine, Seroquel, Haldol, Invega, Geodon

SUBSTANCE USE TREATMENT:

  • Antibute –  alcohol abuse 
  • Methadone – helps reduce withdrawal symptoms of heroin & narcotic drugs
  • Suboxone – opiate addiction 

Learning to recognize these medications will help you get the easy 1 to 3 points. Memorization is optional.

I hope it helps! Please comment below if you have any questions or feedback.

Happy studying!

–Chinh

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Texas Licensed clinical social worker, Doctor of Social Work, clinical supervisor (LCSW-S), life-long learner. I grew up in Vietnam and came to the United States when I was 14. I am currently living and practicing clinical social work in Houston, Texas. My interests are maternal mental health, Asian American psychological wellness, language acquisition (English, Vietnamese), and very much in cognitive psychology. In my free time, I like to garden and do arts and crafts.

21 COMMENTS

  1. This is the last part of studying that I needed, thank you so much for taking the time to share this. Much appreciated!

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