Fluphenazine decanoate is an antipsychotic drug primarily used in treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A member of the piperazine family of medications, fluphenazine decanoate is administered via an injection, which lasts approximately two to three weeks. The drug is the long-acting version of the antipsychotic fluphenazine.
After it is injected, the medication takes effect in one to three days. Patients who take fluphenazine decanoate generally start to notice a difference two to four days after the injection is given. The drug is always monitored closely by a medical professional as each patient tends to respond differently to its powerful effects. Doctors are uncertain as to precisely how fluphenazine decanoate works in the brain. One school of thought suggests that it functions by blocking dopamine receptors and the production of "fight or flight" hormones.
Fluphenazine decanoate is typically only prescribed to patients with long-term mental illness or frequent relapses. It is used most often in the treatment of chronic forms of schizophrenia and the severely manic periods of bipolar disease. Patients on the medication often notice far fewer occurrences of hallucinations, delusions, and other unusual psychoses.
An injection of fluphenazine decanoate is administered either under the skin or directly into a muscle for faster absorption. In the majority of patients, the injection is given by a doctor or other healthcare professional — though, in some instances, the shots are self-administered, and patients are taught to inject themselves in their home environments. Fluphenazine decanoate is yellow in color and is not prescribed to children under 12 years old.
Patients who take fluphenazine decanoate are encouraged to take the drug regularly, which means adhering to a dosing schedule that involves either trips to the doctor for injections or self-administered shots at home. Medical professionals stress the importance of taking fluphenazine decanoate as prescribed and not skipping dosages, as this may have a major impact on the health and well-being of the patient. Even if the patient is feeling better, doctors advise that he or she keep taking the drug.
As with any antipsychotic drug, fluphenazine decanoate has a list of potential side effects. Nausea, dizziness, sleepiness, loss of appetite, and tenderness at the site of the injection are some of the most widely documented side effects of this medication. These effects are typically enhanced in elderly patients. Tardive dyskinesia, a disorder characterized by severe, repetitive body movement, and the neurological disorder neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) are exceptionally rare.