CPCH is Now Offering New Medications: Intramuscular Injections

CPCH is Now Offering New Medications: Intramuscular Injections

What they are, what they do and what the benefits are:

Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill (CPCH) is pleased to announce that we are now offering intramuscular (IM) injections. This form of medication is often referred to as “depot” medication. Our office is a private setting as opposed to a clinic. We have two psychiatrists and a very friendly staff. We are starting to offer these injections in conjunction with a long-standing practice of psychotherapy and medication management for various mental health disorders.

Frequently, people with either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder have difficulty being compliant with their medications. IM injections offer the option of having these medications administered either once a month, or in one case, once every two weeks. This greatly increases the long-term compliance, and thus efficacy, for these patients.

Another major advantage is the assurance of compliance. Medication compliance leads to fewer relapses and re-hospitalizations. In addition, these IM injections can achieve a much more stable concentration of the medication in the bloodstream and maintain it. The medications we offer assure a better and safer option in terms of using the lowest effective dose. By doing this, the frequency of side effects, the potential dosing adjustments, and the subjectively distressing mental side effects such as restlessness, dysphoria and general discomfort are also reduced. Administered in the proper way, with suitable information given to the patient and relatives, IM injections improve the quality of the antipsychotic/bipolar treatment, reduce relapse frequency, diminish the side effects experienced by the patient and stabilize the therapeutic effect.

CPCH will be offering Risperdal Consta, Abilify Maintaina and Vivitrol. Below you can learn more about each injection.

Risperdal Consta

  • Indicated for the treatment of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder-Type 1.
  • This medication is extremely effective, but does have to be given every two weeks in order to maintain a therapeutic level.
  • Also, the patient must have been on an oral form for at least three weeks prior to the first dose of the intramuscular form.
  • Studies have shown that it is very well tolerated. Occasionally, there may be a few minutes of pain at the injection site while the medication is being given.
  • It does need to be kept refrigerated. However, the medication should be given at room temperature which can be obtained after about 30 minutes of being taken out of the refrigerator.
  • The typical dose is 25 mg, but may need to be adjusted depending on the patient’s metabolism and other medications he or she may be taking.

Abilify Maintaina

  • Indicated for the treatment of Schizophrenia.
  • This medication has the benefit of being given once a month and does not need to be refrigerated. In addition, if the patient has ever been on oral Abilify in the past and has tolerated it well, the medication can be started as soon as possible.
  • Compliance obviously increases if the patient only has to come to the office once a month.
  • The typical dose is 400 mg a month, but dosage variations are sometimes necessary depending on other medications the patient may be taking.


  • Originally used for relapse prevention for alcoholics, but now more commonly used for the prevention of relapse for those with opiate dependence.
  • The potential difficulty with initiating this treatment is that the patient must be completely free from opiates for seven days prior to the first dose.
  • In addition, while the dose is most commonly given once a month, each individual can vary in their metabolism of the drug, thus making some people likely to require the medication once every 27 or 28 days. Vice versa, there are some people who may only need to receive the medication every 32 or 33 days.
  • The effectiveness of this drug stems from the fact that once it is in a person’s system, no opiates will be able to have any effect on the person, hopefully decreasing their desire to relapse.

As always if you have any questions for one of our doctors or staff please feel free to contact our office.

Live Mentally Healthy,
Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill

On February 27rd, our current electronic health system will transition to a new and advanced system to better serve you: Athena. Prior to the transition date, you will be sent a registration link to create a new patient account in Athena. If you have any immediate questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your therapist, or call our office to speak to a staff member.