Depot medication is a way of taking medicine as an injection
(usually into the buttock by a doctor or nurse), rather than as a
tablet or in liquid form, and which releases the drug slowly over
In the mid-1950s, several drugs appeared that could reduce the
symptoms of schizophrenia. They became known as “antipsychotic”
medicines. These older drugs are called “typical” antipsychotics.
They work by reducing the action of a chemical messenger in the
brain called dopamine. Currently, depot injections are only
available using these older, “typical” antipsychotics.
However, depot injections can have side-effects. These include:
pain where the needle goes into your skin, especially for a few
days after each injection; feelings of restlessness; dizziness when
standing up; putting on weight; eyes becoming blurry; and stiffness
in arms, legs, neck or mouth. After several years of taking
anti-psychotic medicine the client may start to have twitches
around the mouth (called “tardive dyskinesia”).
However, medication is only the first step, making it possible
for other kinds of help. Support from families and friends, other
forms of treatment and services such as supported housing, day care
and employment schemes, also play a crucial part in recovery.
Counselling also has a very valuable role, in association with
antipsychotic drug treatment, by helping to overcome some of the
consequences of the illness; for example by improving social skills
and in coming to terms with those that cannot be changed.