As a patient or family member, what should I know about receiving a long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotic?

LAIs should be considered early in treatment. See this tip about the pros and cons of LAIs.

Benefits of LAIs include:

  • LAIs reduce the risk of relapse due to unintentional or intentional non-adherence, as well as that of partial adherence.
  • LAIs reduce the risk of unintentional or intentional overdose.
  • Receiving an injection monthly (or every two to twelve weeks) can be less intrusive or distressing than taking pills on a daily basis.
  • Moving families and supports beyond negotiations about taking medication to focus on other aspects of recovery.
  • LAIs provide steadier, more even levels of the antipsychotic medication in the bloodstream.
  • Treatment with a LAI fosters regular contact with the treatment team; this assists with monitoring but can also address concerns as they arise, providing more comprehensive treatment.
  • LAIs are commonly administered in prescriber’s office; their use may decrease the number of trips to the pharmacy to obtain refills or in certain cases completely eliminate the need for such trips.

The side effect profile of a LAI is expected to be similar to that of the oral formulation, which has been demonstrated to be effective and tolerated prior to initiation of LAI.

During initiation of LAI follow your clinician’s instructions regarding oral supplementation or returning to clinic for a loading dose. This will most quickly achieve therapeutic drug levels and are required for certain LAIs.

For more information about LAIs from NAMI, see this article. For more information about specific LAIs, see this resource.

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