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Mindful Schizophrenia Care
Your patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder may have questions at any time. Encourage them to talk to their mental health prescriber about any questions they have, especially about medications, symptoms, side effects, and recovery. The more engaged they are in their care, the more likely they will keep up with it. As a member of the treatment team, you can help your patients raise their concerns and communicate their needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do schizophrenia medicines work?
Schizophrenia medications work by delaying relapses or recurrent episodes. Some medications, such as tablets or capsules, are taken orally by patients and are quickly absorbed by the body. Other medications, such as long-acting injectables, are injected by a treatment team member every 2 weeks, monthly, or less frequently, meaning the medication is released more slowly into the body over time.
How will I know if a medicine is working?
This will depend on what type of medication you are taking. One important factor to keep in mind while taking any medication is symptoms. Are symptoms getting better or worse? Talk to a prescriber about what you should be looking for and what to watch out for as well. Monitoring how you are feeling over time may help your prescriber make dose adjustments accordingly.
What’s the difference between oral and injectable medicines?
Oral medications, such as tablets, capsules, or oral solutions can be taken once a day or more frequently. Long-acting injectable medications (LAIs) need to be administered by a treatment team member during an appointment every 2 weeks, monthly, or less frequently. Learn more about LAIs and other medications in the Treatment Options section.
Will a shot hurt?
Shots or injections can cause some discomfort and injection site reactions. You may have to weigh the pros and cons of the medication as well. If you are still uncomfortable about getting injections, try engaging in a calming or distracting activity during the injection, like listening to music or trying a relaxation exercise.
How often will I need to take my medicine?
How often a medication needs to be taken depends on the type of medication. An oral medication is usually taken every day. Injectable medications need to be administered less frequently because the medication gets absorbed slowly in the body. Some people like long-acting injectable medication because they don’t have to remember to take medication every day.
What side effects do I need to watch out for?
You should always discuss your concerns or questions about side effects with your mental health prescriber and treatment team members. Side effects depend on what kind of medication(s) you’re taking. Talk to a prescriber about side effects, what to expect, and what to watch out for. Weighing side effects and symptoms is an important part of managing mental health conditions.
How long will I need to be on medicine?
Conditions like schizophrenia require life-long treatment with medication. There is no cure for schizophrenia, but it can be treated with medication. Talking through your long-term goals may also help inform what type of treatment(s) you need.
Whom can I talk to if I have questions?
You can reach out to anyone on your treatment team if you have questions! A prescriber, nurse, counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist, peer counselor, and/or therapist can answer questions and offer support.
Can you help me understand my short-term and long-term treatment goals?
In the short term, you need to work with your treatment team to find a medication that works to control symptoms. For the long term, you can work with them to add supportive treatments such as supportive housing and employment or other needs depending on your goals. You can also talk to peer counselors or case managers about housing options, long-term health care, higher education, and employment.
Come back to these questions anytime you need to for your patient conversations.
These resources have been provided as part of a sponsorship with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. For more information, please visit choicesinrecovery.com.