Medication Monday: Long-Acting Injectables

Welcome once again to Medication Monday, the weekly series that examines some of the medications currently available for the treatment of mental health conditions, as well as some of the issues associated with taking medications. This week, I want to talk about certain types of medications, which are long-acting injectables. 

While most of the medications I’ve discussed in this series are taken orally on a daily or twice daily basis, long-acting injectables, as the name suggests, treat a person for several weeks or even several months with just one dose. This can be useful in treating psychotic symptoms in individuals with schizo-type disorders, particularly if the symptoms experienced by those individuals make it so they aren’t reliably taking their medications. 

For individuals with severe symptoms, long-acting injectables decrease the risk of hospitalization, as opposed to pills, and may increase the person’s overall quality of life. However, pills may need to be taken alongside the injectable early on in the treatment, as the injectable starts working. Yet once it does start working, another benefit is that it ensures a steadier level of the medication in the bloodstream.

Examples of long-acting injectables include Abilify Maintena, Aristada, Haldol decanoate, Invega Sustenna, Invega Trinza, fluphenazine decanoate, Risperdal Consta, and Zyprexa Relprevv. And while I said earlier that they were primarily used for psychosis associated with schizo-type disorders, I do what to note that they are sometimes also used as mood-stabilizers for individuals with bipolar disorder. 

While most schizophrenia patients preferred long-acting injectables, the downside is that it can be harder to change course if a particular medication isn’t working since it isn’t a simple matter of just stopping an oral medication. As for side effects, long-acting injectables have the risk of side effects, just as oral anti-psychotic medications do. 

As for the actual decision about whether long-acting injectables are right for a specific patient or not, that will be made by a qualified doctor or psychopharmacologist. As I remind people each week, Medication Monday is not meant as a substitute for medical advice, nor should it be treated as such. Rather, it is just a brief, informal introduction, which I hope has been helpful.   

And one more unrelated note that I want to make before leaving you today, which is that this is my 500th post on the Dark Tales Project. I never thought when I started this page that it would turn into what it has. And I have hopes for so much more. 

And this 500th post comes in the wake of what was an exhausting week last week. Yet, setbacks, road bumps, hurdles, and other recovery challenges are a chance to learn and grow. And the last 500 posts have demonstrated some of my growth, and has hopefully been helpful for all of you.

So wherever you joined me along this road, thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for the comments, and thank you for keeping an open mind. Because open minds don’t just help us grow, open minds help society grow. This is especially true in a field like mental health, where so much stigma still exists. And as people speak up, that stigma shrinks, which is good for all of us.

Here is to the next 500 posts!

Sources: NAMI – Long-Acting Injectables; MedPage Today – Injectable vs. Oral Antipsychotics: Patients Have Preferences; WebMD – Pros and Cons of Long-Lasting Antipsychotic Drugs.

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