The Haldol Injections

July 23, 2007 at 1:26 am | Posted in Bipolar, Buspar, Depression, Geodon, Haldol, Haldol DEC, Haldol Decanoate, Injections, Kristin Bell, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Psych Meds, Psychiatry, Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Zoloft | 15 Comments

haldol decanoate

I wanted to talk a little bit about the Haldol injections that I get. I have schizophrenia and part of the medications that I receive are Haldol injections. The long name is Haldol Decanoate or Haldol DEC for short. There are different kinds of Haldol injections. There are some that are more fast acting, and then there are the kind that I have which metabolize in my system over a 4 week timespan. So, I get the injection once every 4 weeks and I get the injection in my butt/hip area. It usually doesn’t hurt except for a little poke. If I get a bad needle or something it might hurt, but usually it is just fine. I usually reward myself with a drink from Starbucks on my way home from getting the injection. You know, a little positive reinforcement!

The reason why the shot is so good for me is that I’m an habitual drug refuser. I sort of spent about 12 years of my life on and off medications and in limbo. I was very sad. I was very suicidal. I was very crazy. I would end up in the hospital. They would put me on medications, but then when I was out of the hospital I wouldn’t take them or I’d miss taking some and then I’d get to thinking that people were trying to kill me or I’d think that the meds were poison or something and then I’d quit taking them altogether.

So, the injections for me have been a life saver. I take Geodon (an anti-psychotic), Zoloft (an anti-depressant) and Buspar (an anti-anxiety) orally, but the injection helps me to get stabilized and it keeps me sane enough to know that I do indeed need the other medications. There are no missed doses with the injection. I can’t stop taking the medicine unless I go without an injection and I’m not willing to do that.

Haldol is an older typical antipsychotic medication. Geodon is a newer atypical antipsychotic. I guess they name them typical or atypical depending on the neurotransmitters that the medications interact with. The newer atypical antipsychotics are generally preferred, because they are thought to have fewer side effects over the long term. The truth is no one knows what kinds of problems could develop, because these medications are new. With Geodon there is risk of QT interval prolongation which has to do with heart rhythms and stuff. Before I went on the medication I had my heart tested to see if I had prior problems like that. With Haldol there is a greater risk of Tardiv Dyskenisia which is a disease where the patient starts having weird spasms usually of their tongue or face or something like that. I’m really praying that doesn’t happen to me. My doctor does monitor me for signs of that and usually people take Cogentin which may aid in blocking the disorder from happening.

If you are a person with schizophrenia, or you know someone with schizophrenia who doesn’t take their medications regularly or goes off of them all together, you may want to talk to your doctor about an injectable medicine. I believe it comes in other drug varieties too, like Risperdal is another one that has an injectable form. The main cost is getting someone to inject the stuff, because the medicine itself even without insurance is not that expensive compared to a lot of the other medications out there. I have insurance and I think I pay $5 for a bottle of the stuff that lasts about 6 months! The syringes are cheap too if you don’t have to use that many and your doctor could probably provide those.

Anyway, the injection is not very popular in the United States according to my psychiatrist. He said that it is used more often in Europe for some reason. Maybe Europeans are smarter about mental illnesses! A lot of it probably is pressure from anti-psychiatry people claiming that doctors are trying to mentally castrate people when they use these injectable medicines. All I can say to that is that you need the right doctor who will work with you to make sure you don’t end up feeling like a zombie.

With anything, you need a good doctor and you need to discuss all of your options. Even though I know paranoid people have a hard time talking to their doctors sometimes, if you are paranoid, your doctor needs to know and you need to maintain an open communication with him or her at all times. I’ve had a few bad doctors in my life, so I know how hard it is to find a good one, but you have to keep trying until you can find someone who you can trust is going to do the right things for you.

Anyway, if you have any questions about the injections, let me know. I can’t really think of anything else to say about them. I’m on a fairly low dose, so I don’t get too sleepy with the medication. I also supplement the injection anti-psychotic with oral anti-psychotics. Oh yeah, and I’ve been on this medication combination for about seven years now with no side effects! Whoohoo!

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  1. re:used more often in Europe.
    Hey I’m big in Japan, don’t you know?
    You can say lalala now as I tell you Haldol shrinks and damages patients brains.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Mark, but Haldol does not shrink and damage patient brains. :)

  3. from the internet

    Haloperidol, not Olanzapine, Linked With Brain Shrinkage in Schizophrenia: Presented at SFN

    By Roberta Friedman, PhD

    NEW ORLEANS, LA — November 11, 2003 — Haloperidol may exacerbate the shrinking of the brain that scientists are beginning to link with schizophrenia. Findings of a multi-center study comparing first- and second-generation treatment for schizophrenia were announced here November 9th at Neuroscience 2003, the Society for Neuroscience 33rd Annual Meeting.

    The rates for tardive dyskinesia are astronomical. The latest estimate from the American Psychiatric Association (1992, p. 68) indicates a rate for all patients of five per cent per year, so that 15 per cent of patients develop tardive dyskinesia within only three years.

  4. A) The source is from the internet, so I don’t give it high credibility.
    B) “May” and “Linked” are not definitive. It doesn’t say that it definitely or even likely is caused by Haldol. There are a few different ways to describe things in scientific terms. When someone uses the term “linked” it means it “may be correlated” this does not imply or mean cause and effect at all.
    C) They don’t even say what part of the brain is supposedly shrinking and it isn’t even certain that the brain does indeed shrink with schizophrenia. All they know is that in a relatively few people who have been studied there appears to be more fluid in the brain in certain parts where there is usually grey matter. These studies are not conclusive and more tests are needed.
    D) WAY MORE data and testing is needed for anyone to start saying or implying that Haldol actually shrinks the brains of patients. There is no scientific data to support such a statement. That is why they didn’t say: Haldol shrinks patients’ brains! So, if the scientists aren’t saying it, neither should you!

  5. Mark! I forgot to say: Thank you for looking that up and for bringing the information over anyway. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to do that! And thanks for visiting! :) kristin

  6. I am getting Haldol injection 75 mg for about 4 years. In start I feel bad and after taking allergic.
    All this time I feel under any pressure,explosiv
    not so relaxing at all,paranoid,panic disorders like
    I would drop down on the ground be dead something
    excepting to happen scare and always congention or stress in chest,problem with balance while walked and lose interest and scare bad minds, reactive to verbal conflicts, think people bad make with me.I am smoking too much, taking vitamins and that is all.Appetite is good.
    Sleeping not so well because of smoke or whatever, not so bad. During day I fell lack mental energy to work something or simple stand or walk and forced to rest on bed.
    Do you know more about this tell be what to except,advice, do not tell me to increase dose
    Whatever I speak with doctor they do not listen me
    and almost all my appoitments were unnesesery

    The true is I went to doctor to get pills for sleep because I had bed sleeps, and real noises
    produced from neighboors
    irritated me. Doctor told after second appoitment I have scizofrenia and give me zyprexa then zoloft+risperdol
    Never any psycho medication help me even 5 minutes
    in my life. I spend this more then 8 years. The true is I smoked and taken medication. Then stop both, fall to coma,could dead, and after this they put me on haldol the rest you know from above.

    Also how to improve my situation. I am also forced to take Haldol because I am getting some benefits.
    How is Haldol bad for heart how for brain.
    How many times it takes is this all life

  7. Kristen,

    My brother is terribly schizophrenic—he is 67 and it’s been going on since he was 20. Life is very hard for him and me. He is subject to horrible delusional spells. He is just now getting on the 4 week injections. Do they really last 4 weeks…or do they start to wane off. He is in a truly great facility. My only and greatest goal is to be able to keep him there…it is the best option. Bless you!

  8. Jeanne Marie: I’m so sorry about your brother’s condition. Yes, the injections do last for four weeks! It is hard to tell if they are maybe a little less potent in the last few days…but I’m on a pretty low dose. Actually, I just got my recent injection on Friday and I’m feeling really good! My heart breaks for you and your family. If I had been born earlier in the century I dare say my fate would have been much more like your brother’s. I do hope the injections bring some relief and I hope he can stay where he is if that is the best for him. I’m sorry this illness has been so hard on you too. I’m sure you deserve a medal of some kind!

    If he can’t thank you, I will…I know his life has been better for having a sister that cares!

  9. Greetings From Brazil

    Hey Kristin

    How did you find out about your illness ?

  10. I became ill and was acting strange and couldn’t take care of myself, so my parents took me to a doctor. Or if you mean, how did I learn things about the illness, well, many years of studying and gathering information.

  11. Hi Kristen

    Have watched your youtube videos, and have found this site so am going to read it. I have schizophrenia, im newly diagnosed, im 24. Ive taken so many different anti psychotics and am now on abilify and zyprexa, my pdoc said if these fail to work he wants me to try the injections. Ive tried oral haldol and had terrible side effects one being my periods stopped whilst on it, do you know if this is a side effect of the injection form? Do you know of other types of injections? Does it hurt when they inject you (thats the bit im most worried about lol).

    Thanks
    xxx

  12. Hi there!

    I don’t know if you will see this in email or on the web, so I’m going to post it in both places. :)

    The injection has been a life-saver for me. It has stabilized me more than anything else ever did, and I tried a LOT of different meds.
    There are side effects. Your p-doc would have to watch out for tardive dyskinesia and other extra pyramidal symptoms. Also, the side effects may be the same for you as the oral meds, but I find that the oral meds are more sedating…probably because you have to take more of the oral meds to get the same effect. The injections don’t have to go through your digestive system, so you can take less medication overall. Plus you only have to get the injection one time every four weeks.

    There are other meds in injection form. I know of risperdal for sure and I think they might have a zyprexa one by now. Haldol has worked for me.

    And, the injections don’t hurt if you get them in the hip/butt area. I got one in the arm and I didn’t like that so much, but in your rump it only amounts to a slight poke. It really isn’t bad at all. I have had hangnails that hurt more! :)

    It seems scary at first to get the injections, but they are way easier than oral meds. I wish I could get one or two injections with all my meds and be done with it! heh Actually, the biggest pain with the injection is having to wait at the doctor’s office for someone to give it to me. It is sooooo boring!!! lol. The injection really only takes about 2 minutes to administer though.

    Well, let me know if you have any other questions.

    Have a nice day and good luck!!!

    :) kristin

  13. I want to know if one persons taken haldol(injection)is for all life?what are the effects? my boyfriend was taken this injection for 10 years,i didnt know before that he is sick as mentally,i know him 3 years,just i know 1 year that he taken haldol because he is taken pills for 1 mos. instead of shot ,that i see the person he is,you know he is so crazy mentally but i like it he is a good person that i’m pitty for him.you know i”m to much pitty for him,for the injection that he take its hurted him to much he is vomiting,the eyes becoming big moving,the jews also moving.the back feel so hurt,he is so lazy,he don”t want to work,all the time drinking and smoking.i think all side effect he got it.i want to ask if they have possibility to cure or theraphy for this.please help me,tell m what to do…ty!

  14. There is no cure for schizophrenia at this time. If your boyfriend is having bad side effects, he should talk to his doctor about switching to a different medication. You are right, being crazy does NOT mean he isn’t a good person. A lot of crazy people are good people at the same time. He will most likely have to keep taking medication for the rest of his life if he wants to stay sane and not have psychosis. :(

  15. […] I first wrote about taking my Haldol injections back in 2007 in https://kristinbell.org/2007/07/23/the-haldol-injections/. […]


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