Antipsychotic long-acting injections: prescribing practice in the UK

Br J Psychiatry Suppl. 2009 Nov;52:S37-42. doi: 10.1192/bjp.195.52.s37.


Background: Data from the USA, Australia and Europe suggest that the proportion of patients with schizophrenia prescribed an antipsychotic long-acting injection (LAI) varies from around a quarter to a third. Use of LAIs has been associated with male gender and younger age.

Aims: To characterise the use of LAIs in people with schizophrenia in three clinical settings in the UK.

Method: The study used audit data from quality improvement programmes conducted by the Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health.

Results: Long-acting injections were found to be prescribed for between a quarter and a third of patients, depending on the clinical setting. Flupentixol, risperidone and zuclopenthixol were most commonly prescribed and were combined with an oral antipsychotic in half of cases, frequently constituting high-dose prescribing. The use of LAIs was not consistently associated with age, gender or ethnicity.

Conclusions: Antipsychotic LAIs are commonly prescribed. We did not replicate previous findings with respect to demographic variables associated with their use.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antipsychotic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / therapeutic use
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • United Kingdom


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations