How are antipsychotics taken?

Antipsychotic medication can come as tablets, a syrup or as an injection. The injections are called a depot. You may find a depot injection useful if you struggle to remember to take your medication.

Your doctor should take your views about the way you would like to take medication into account when prescribing it to you.

We have listed below the antipsychotics which are licenced for use in the UK.

First generation or typical antipsychotics

The following medications are typical antipsychotics. They are the older types of antipsychotics licensed for use in the UK. They have been listed by their generic name with the brand name in brackets.

  • chlorpromazine (Largactil)
  • flupentixol (Depixol)
  • haloperidol (Haldol)
  • levomepromazine (Nozinan)
  • pericyazine
  • perphenazine (Fentazin)
  • pimozide (Orap)
  • prochlorperazine
  • promazine
  • sulpiride (Dolmatil, Sulpor)
  • trifluperazine (Stelazine)
  • zuclopenthixol (Clopixol)

Second generation or atypical antipsychotics

The following medication are atypical antipsychotics. They are the newer types of antipsychotics licensed for use in the UK. They have been listed by their generic name with the brand name in brackets.

  • amisulpride (Solian)
  • aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena)
  • clozapine (Clozaril, Denzapine, Zaponex)
  • lurasidone (Latuda)
  • risperidone (Risperdal & Risperdal Consta)
  • olanzapine (Zypadhera. Zyprexa)
  • quetiapine (Seroquel, Seroquel XL)
  • paliperidone (Invega, Xeplion)

Clozapine works slightly differently to others. It is usually given to people who are treatment resistant. Treatment resistant means other medication haven’t helped reduce or control symptoms.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says that people with schizophrenia should only be offered clozapine after having tried 2 other antipsychotics.

Clozapine can cause your white blood cell numbers to drop. But this is rare. If your white blood cells drop, this may mean you can get infections more easily. If you take clozapine, you will need regular blood tests to make sure your white blood cell count is healthy.

Your GP surgery should invite you to have blood tests at least once a year. It’s important that you attend your check-ups as regular monitoring helps to manage the risks. If you aren’t being invited to have regular blood tests by your GP surgery you can contact them to ask for these.

If your white blood cell numbers start dropping, you will be asked to stop taking the medication. You will have another blood test after you have stopped clozapine to make sure they are back to normal. Your doctor might decide to change your dose of clozapine or offer you another type of medication.

There is research to suggest that white blood cell numbers are more likely to drop in people from an ethnic minority. This is because some Black and ethnic minority people already have a lower-than-average white cell count. This may mean your psychiatrist may not prescribe you clozapine. Your psychiatrist will discuss the best options with you.

If you have missed any doses of your clozapine contact a health professional as soon as possible.

There has been a lot of research to suggest the effectiveness of clozapine in treatment resistant schizophrenia.

NICE produce guidelines for the assessment and treatment of mental illnesses, such as psychosis and schizophrenia. Doctors use these guidelines to decide which medication to offer you. You can find these in the further reading section at the bottom of this page.


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