ZUCLOPENTHIXOL DECANOATE INJECTION (‘Clopixol’)
Zoo – clo – pen – thick – sol de – can – o – ate
Why have I been prescribed zuclopenthixol injection?
Zuclopenthixol decanoate is used to help treat schizophrenia, psychosis and many other similar conditions.
When they have schizophrenia, many people hear voices talking to them or about them. They may also become suspicious
or paranoid. Some people also have problems with their thinking and feel that other people can read their thoughts. These
are called "positive symptoms". Zuclopenthixol can help to relieve these symptoms. Many people with schizophrenia also
experience "negative symptoms". They feel tired and lacking in energy and may become quite inactive and withdrawn.
Zuclopenthixol may help relieve these symptoms as well.
What exactly is zuclopenthixol injection?
Schizophrenia and similar disorders are sometimes referred to as psychoses, hence the name given to this group of
medicines, which is the “antipsychotics”. They are sometimes also called the neuroleptics or (incorrectly) major
tranquillisers. Zuclopenthixol decanoate is an antipsychotic. It is a depot injection that is a long-acting form of the
medication. When injected into a muscle, it creates a store or “depot” and is released slowly into the body over several
weeks. Zuclopenthixol is the active drug. The decanoate is an inactive part that helps dissolve the flupenthixol in the oil for
the injection.
The brand or trade name of zuclopenthixol decanoate is ‘Clopixol’.
Is zuclopenthixol safe to have?
It is usually safe to have zuclopenthixol depot injections regularly as prescribed by your doctor, but it doesn’t suit everyone.
Let your doctor know if any of the following apply to you, as extra care may be needed:
a) If you have epilepsy, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease or glaucoma, or suffer from heart, liver, kidney, thyroid or prostate
trouble;
b) If you are taking any other medication. This includes medicines from your pharmacist, such as antihistamines;
c) If you are pregnant, breast feeding, or wish to become pregnant.
What is the usual dose of zuclopenthixol?
The test dose is 100mg. The usual dose can vary from 100mg to 600mg a week. Zuclopenthixol injections are usually
given every two weeks, but can be given every week or every three weeks.
How is zuclopenthixol given?
First of all, a test dose of zuclopenthixol (which is a low dose) is given to see how your body copes with it. Then you will be
given regular injections. The injection is given deep into the buttock or thigh muscle. The injection can be given by a CMHN
(Community Mental Health Nurse) or by your GP’s practice nurse. The dose will depend on your symptoms and side
effects.
What should I do if I miss an injection?
You should contact your nurse/doctor as soon as you remember. They will probably arrange for another injection to be
given to you.
When I feel better, can I stop having my injections?
No. If you stop taking zuclopenthixol, your original symptoms may return, but this may not be for 3 to 6 months after you
stop the drug. You and your doctor should decide together when you can come off it. Most people need to be on
zuclopenthixol for quite a long time, sometimes years. This is not thought to be harmful. Zuclopenthixol is not addictive.
What will happen to me when I start having zuclopenthixol?
Antipsychotics do not work straight away. For example, it may take several days or even weeks for some of the symptoms
to reduce. To begin with, most people find that this medication will help them feel more relaxed and calm. Later, after one
or two weeks, other symptoms should begin to improve.
Unfortunately, you might get some side effects before you start to feel any better. Most side effects should go away after a
few weeks. Look at the table over the page. It tells you what to do if you get any of the usual side effects. Not everyone will
get the side effects shown. There are many other possible side effects. Ask your pharmacist, doctor or nurse if you are
worried about anything else that you think might be a side effect.
Side effect What is it? What should I do if it happens to me?
COMMON
AKATHISIA
You feel restless, unable to feel comfortable
unless you are moving.
Tell your doctor about this. It may be possible to change your drug or dose, or
give you something to reduce these feelings.
MOVEMENT
DISORDERS
Feeling shaky or having a tremor. Your neck
may twist back. Your eyes and tongue may
move on their own.
It is not usually dangerous. If it is bad or worries you, tell your doctor. He or
she can give you something for it.
RAISED
PROLACTIN
Prolactin is a natural chemical we all have.
High levels can affect periods in women or
cause impotence in men. It may also cause
breast tenderness and milk secretion, in men
as well as women.
This sometimes wears off in a few weeks, but discuss this with your doctor
anyway. It may be that a change in dose or different drug will help.
WEIGHT GAIN
Eating more and putting on weight. Avoid fatty foods like chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks. A diet full of
vegetables and fibre will usually help, as will physical activities such as
walking. If it becomes a problem or you are worried, ask to see a dietician.
LESS COMMON
DROWSINESS
Feeling sleepy or sluggish. Don’t drive or use machinery. As your treatment continues you should feel
less drowsy.
UNCOMMON
Dry mouth. Not much saliva or spit. Sugar-free boiled sweets, chewing gum or eating citrus fruits usually helps. If
not, your doctor can give you a mouth spray. A change in medicine or dose
may be possible.
Blurred vision Things look fuzzy and you can’t focus properly. See your doctor if you are
worried. You won’t need glasses.
Feeling "bunged up" inside. You can't pass a
motion or stool.
Eat more fibre e.g. bran, fruit and vegetables. Do more walking. Make sure
you drink plenty of fluid. A mild laxative from a pharmacy might help.
ANTI-
CHOLINERGIC
EFFECTS
Difficulty in passing urine Contact your doctor now.
SEXUAL
DYSFUNCTION
Finding it hard to have an orgasm. No desire
for sex. Men can become impotent.
Discuss this with your doctor when you next meet.
SWELLING
AND NODULES
Injection site swells. It feels painful and lumpy. Report it to your nurse. Warm baths and regular exercise like walking can
help.
RARE
HYPOTENSION
A low blood pressure. You may feel faint when
you stand up.
Try not to stand up too quickly. If you feel dizzy, don’t drive. This dizziness is
not dangerous
VERY RARE
URINE
RETENTION
Not much urine is passed. Contact your doctor now.
NMS
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome includes a
high body temperature, muscle stiffness and
being unable to move.
It usually occurs within a few weeks of a dose change. Contact your doctor
immediately. Keep cool, with fans or cool water.
What about alcohol?
It is officially recommended that people taking zuclopenthixol should not drink alcohol. This is because both zuclopenthixol and alcohol
can cause drowsiness. If the two are taken at the same time, severe drowsiness can result. This can lead to falls or accidents. As well
as this, drinking alcohol often makes psychosis worse. Excessive drinking is especially likely to do this. Once people are used to taking
medication, they can sometimes drink alcohol in small amounts without any harm. Avoid alcohol altogether for the first one or two
months. After this, if you want a drink, try a glass of your normal drink and see how you feel. If this doesn’t make you feel drowsy, then
it is probably OK to drink small amounts. It pays to be very cautious because alcohol affects people in different ways, especially when
they are taking medication. Don't stop taking your medication because you fancy a drink. Discuss any concerns you may have with
your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. If you do drink alcohol, drink only small amounts. Never drink any alcohol and drive.
Remember, leaflets like this can only describe some of the effects of medication. You may find other
books or leaflets also useful. If you have access to the internet you may find a lot of information
there as well, but be careful, as internet based information is not always accurate.
2001 United Kingdom Psychiatric Pharmacy Group www.ukppg.org.uk
This leaflet is to help you understand about your medicine. It is not an official manufacturer's Patient Information Leaflet. For more
information call the UKPPG National Telephone Helpline, 11am to 5pm, Monday to Friday on 020 7919 2999 or visit
www.nmhct.nhs.uk/pharmacy
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