What is a depot injection? 

A depot injection is a slow-release form of an antipsychotic medication. It’s the same medication as the antipsychotic that comes in tablet or liquid form. But it is given as an injection in a liquid that releases it slowly, so it lasts a lot longer. 

Why might I choose a depot injection? 

A depot injection might be a good option for you if: 

  • you find it difficult to swallow medication 
  • you find it difficult remembering to take medication regularly 
  • you prefer not to have to think about taking medication every day. 

You may also be given a depot injection if the healthcare professionals involved in your care agree that you need the drug, but think you may struggle to take it regularly in a different form. 

But you will usually only be offered a depot injection if: 

  • you’ve already been on your medication for a while 
  • you know it’s working well for you, and 
  • you expect to keep taking it for a long time. 

Not all antipsychotics are available as depot injections.

How are depot injections given? 

  • Injections are usually given every two, three or four weeks, depending on the drug. Certain antipsychotics may last for longer periods when given as a depot injection. 
  • Your injection may be given by a healthcare professional in a community setting. For example, this may be in a clinic, medical centre or in your own home. You will not be given a depot injection to use at home on yourself. 
  • The injection is made into a large muscle. This is usually either your buttock or the largest  muscle of your shoulder. It’s a good idea to alternate between different muscles and sides of  your body. This is to help prevent any injection site problems. 

Injection site problems 

If you regularly have your injection in the same place in your body, you may start to experience problems with that part of your body. This may include: 

  • abscess (a painful collection of pus)
  • bleeding 
  • bruising 
  • irritation 
  • lumps 
  • numbness 
  • pain 
  • redness 
  • soreness 
  • swelling. 

If you have problems with your injection site, make sure you mention this to your doctor, nurse or whoever administers your medication. 

Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) 

Do ask the doctors or nurses who administer your medication for any handouts or leaflets related to your medication to find out more about important information you should know about.

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