Long-Acting Injectables

Long-acting injectables (LAIs) allow for the slow release of medicine into the blood. Injectable medications used for individuals living with mental illness include: Abilify Maintena®, Aristada®, Haldol decanoate®, Invega Sustenna®, Invega Trinza®, fluphenazine decanoate, Risperdal Consta®, and Zyprexa Relprevv®. The LAIs can last anywhere from 2-12 weeks with just one dose, which helps to control symptoms of mental illness.

What are LAIs used for?

LAIs are usually given to treat psychosis (hallucinations or delusions) in individuals with schizophrenia.Some LAIs may be used as mood stabilizers in individuals with bipolar disorder.

How can a LAI help?

LAIs can help individuals stay on track with a medicine plan. If someone is having trouble sticking to a plan, a lot of things may happen. One problem could be needing to stay in a hospital until the illness is better. Other problems may include trouble with family and friends or other relationships.

When comparing LAIs to pill medications, LAIs may lower the chances of someone going to the hospital. LAIs allow for a steady level of medicine in the blood. These steady levels help lower the chance of side effects. The LAIs may also help improve quality of life and satisfaction with medicine.

How are LAIs given?

LAIs are given as an injection in the muscles of the arm or bottom. When starting a LAI for the first time, individuals may also have to take pill medication for a few weeks. The pill allows the injection to have time to start working.

What if I'm interested in a LAI?

If interested in a LAI, talk to a doctor. A LAI may not be right for every person living with mental illness. The main side effect of a LAI is pain at the injection site.

When talking to a doctor, here are some questions to ask:

  • How will a LAI help?
  • What symptoms will a LAI control?
  • What side effects may occur?
  • What blood work will need to be done?

 

Remember:

  • LAIs are medicines which are made to help individuals living with mental illness.
  • LAIs may help to reduce time in the hospital and increase quality of life.
  • LAI injections are given every 2-12 weeks depending on which medicine is best. This schedule may help individuals stick to a medicine plan.
  • For individuals worried about paying for a LAI, help may be available. Many insurance plans should help cover the cost of one of the LAIs. The drug company for each medicine may also be able to help.

 

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©2017 The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP). Kayla Johnson, PharmD, January 2018

This information is being provided as a community outreach effort of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists. This information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical advice. This information contains a summary of important points and is not an exhaustive review of information about the topic. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified medical professional with any questions you may have regarding medications or medical conditions. Never delay seeking professional medical advice or disregard medical professional advice as a result of any information provided herein. The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists disclaims any and all liability alleged as a result of the information provided herein.

To view the references for this resource, please visit cpnp.org/366991.