Long-Acting Injectable (LAI) Administration
"An important ally for mental health"
What are long-acting injectables?
It’s a form of long-acting medication. The drug is administered in the muscle and then it is slowly and gradually released into the patient’s body.
Why does my doctor prescribe long-acting injectables?
These injections can help reduce unpleasant symptoms caused by changes in perception, thought or behavior. As these injections are administered once a week, once a month or every three months etc, the patients avoid daily medication. This is the reason why these long-acting injectables have gained ground recently. Needless to say, the doctor may prescribe oral medication along with long-acting injectable medication, especially if the patients are at the beginning of their treatment.
What happens on the day of long-acting injectable administration?
A mental health nurse will administer the injection, either in the gluteal area or in the deltoid arm muscle. During your first visit, you will be asked to sign a consent form for your participation in the Clinic’s Long-Acting Injectables Program (DEPOT Clinic).
Upon your visit, your mental status is evaluated by a psychiatrist and a psychologist, while your verbal consent is necessary before the administration of the injectable medication, which is performed by a specialized mental health nurse, specifically trained on the proper administration of such medication. The injection process usually takes a few seconds. Depending on the type of the administered drug, the patient is asked to wait for some time, in order for the staff to monitor the patient’s vital signs after the injection.
The patients of the Clinic’s LAI Program usually remain in the Clinic, in order to attend to various psychotherapeutic groups, while they are also able to stay for lunch, as part of their participation in the day care program offered by AX Clinic.
Do not hesitate to discuss anything that concerns you regarding LAI administration with the AX Clinic’s nursing and medical staff.
Do long-acting injectables have side effects?
Some people experience side effects, but they are not very different from those that may emerge by taking the same medication per os. Talk to your doctor, or to the LAI Program’s designated doctor. You are free to discuss side effects whenever you wish to do so. If side effects should occur, you could accept them and consider ways that could help you face them, in order to avoid a new acute episode or a relapse.
How often should I take a long-acting injectable?
This usually depends on your current mental state, but frequency ranges from once a week to every four weeks, or every three months. The frequency depends not only on the choice of medicinal substance but also on the patient’s symptoms. The dosage of the drug, as well as the frequency of the LAI administration varies according to the effectiveness of treatment and the emergence of side effects. The psychiatrist, who monitors the patients’ mental state, reviews the LAI treatment every six (6) months.
Will I face any health problems if I suddenly interrupt the LAI treatment?
If you forget to attend to your appointment or you miss it for any reason, you should inform the Clinic’s staff as soon as possible and they will arrange another appointment for you. Even if you feel fine, it is possible that the initial symptoms that led you to ask for help will emerge again or deteriorate.