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Antipsychotics come in pills, drops or injections. Injectable preparations are also called depot or long-acting antipsychotics. In prescribing medication and its dosage form, it is important that your doctor listens to your views and preferences.

Pills and drops are administered orally. That is: taken through the mouth. Because this “oral medication” is only effective for a short amount of time, they have to be taken on a daily basis. The plus side to oral medication is that the dosage can be adjusted quickly, should that be necessary.

In contrast, depots/injections often include a higher dosage of a certain medicine. Because of the formulation, the effect is greatly delayed and the person using it only needs a new dose once every two to four weeks. Depot medication has to be taken regularly, according to a fixed schedule. There are special depot clinics for this.

It may be a good idea to choose depot medication if you keep forgetting to take your medication yourself, or if you have a tendency to take too much or too little – and so are at risk. Depot medication is a long-acting medicine, so the dosage cannot be adjusted as quickly as oral medicines.

External websites:

  • Medline Plus Information about specific medicines and patient leaflet

Prof. dr. Jim van OsChair Division Neuroscience, Utrecht University Medical Centre. Jim is also Visiting Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. Jim works at the interface of ‘hard’ brain science, health services research, art and subjective experiences of people with ‘lived experience’ in mental healthcare. 

Jim has been appearing on the Thomson-Reuter Web of Science list of ‘most influential scientific minds of our time’ since 2014. In 2014 he published his book ‘Beyond DSM-5‘, and in 2016 the book ‘Good Mental Health Care’. 

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