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Living a Full Life with Schizophrenia

Invega Sustenna Dosage And Treatment

Invega Sustenna Dosage And Treatment

For those who suffer from schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or who need a medication to work along with other therapeutic regimens, or for those who need treatment for mania and for those who need treatment for symptoms of dementia, healthcare providers can provide Invega Sustenna. It is part of a class of medication called a Serotonin-Dopamine Antagonist (SDA) Antipsychotic. Invega Sustenna is the brand name of Paliperidone palmitate and is manufactured by Janssen, a company located in the United States.

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What Is Invega Sustenna?

Paliperidone palmitate drugs are called antipsychotics. They are used to control the symptoms of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Invega Sustenna uses antagonist action to manage the balance of chemicals that are involved in schizophrenia. Antagonists bind to receptor cells, in this case, in the brain.

What Are The Brain Chemicals?

Human brain illustration

Image source: Pixabay

Dopamine and serotonin are chemicals called neurotransmitters. They act as biological messengers. They regulate innumerable functions and processes in the body, for example sleep and metabolism. When dopamine and serotonin are present in the wrong concentrations or are otherwise out of balance, a plethora of symptoms can appear, including:

  • Depression
  • Indigestion
  • Addiction
  • Insomnia
  • Movement disorders
  • Hallucinations
  • Reward seeking behavior

What Is An Antagonist?

Invega Sustenna acts as an antagonist at receptor cells by binding to the cell and blocking the effect of an agonist. An agonist is a chemical that binds to a receptors and produces an effect within the cell, in this case, sending chemical messages onward which initiate the addiction process. 

 

An antagonist gets to the receptor cell first, blocks the agonist and prevents it from sending messages onward. The antagonist, in this case, overpowers the agonist to restore the balance of neurotransmitters and relieves the symptoms of schizophrenia.

What Exactly Is A Receptor Cell?

Receptor cells are proteins that receive signals by binding to signaling molecules, in this case dopamine and serotonin. Most receptor cells are located across the cellular membrane, completely or partially within and partially outside the cell. When Invega Sustenna binds to the receptor, it binds to the portion outside the cellular membranes of cells located in nerve and other tissues. Once it binds, it initiates various signaling pathways within the cytoplasm of tissue cells and often alters the receptor's configuration.

 

Antagonists need receptor cells in order to work. Once Invega Sustenna binds to the receptor, the receptor initiates everything else. Antagonists and agonists are highly competitive. Some antagonists can be overpowered by increasing amounts of agonist substances.

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How Does Invega Sustenna Work

As with most medications, the exact mechanism of action of Invega Sustenna is unknown, but it is believed to be based on the aforementioned receptor activity. It is sub-classified as an atypical antipsychotic medication. 

Atypical Schizophrenics tend to have a higher serotonin to dopamine receptor affinity; receptors “like” serotonin more than they do dopamine. Dopamine receptors are more specifically blocked in the limbic area of the brain, where it is believedthat an excess of dopamine contributes to symptoms of schizophrenia. 

It is hypothesized that antagonist serotonin receptors in other tracts of the brain lead to an increase in dopamine release and thereby reduce symptoms.

What Is An Atypical Antipsychotic Medication?

Atypical antipsychotics such as Invega Sustenna are second-generation antipsychotics that work by impeding dopamine and blocking serotonin. In people with psychosis, dopamine signals are typically hyperactive. As well, people with psychosis who have hyper-stimulated serotonin activity often have hallucinations and delusions. Second-generation antipsychotics work far better at impeding dopamine signals and blocking serotonin activity.


Atypical antipsychotics are most typically prescribe to treat schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, mania associated with bipolar disorder, severe behavior or psychological symptoms of dementia, and for use as an adjunct to mood stabilizers and or antidepressants. Atypical antipsychotics truly excel when compared to the first-generation typical antipsychotics because side effects are greatly diminished or reduced.

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How Is Invega Sustenna Given?

This medication can be given orally in tablet form and it can be given intramuscularly as an injection. The good thing about the injection is that it can be given once monthly and once every three months. Invega Sustenna usually requires an initial dose with doses gradually increasing until the desired affect is achieved or until the patient appears to become intolerant of the medication.

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What About All the Side Effects, Reactions and Interactions?

Now is a good time to talk about these three issues. When describing the properties of Invega Sustenna, three terms need to be defined; side effect, reaction and interaction.

  • Side Effect

A side effect is a secondary, unwanted effect that occurs due to drug therapy. It is not the same as an adverse event, which is any unfavorable or unintended sign, symptom or process that is associated with the concurrent use of a medication, whether or not the effect is actually related to the cause. Drug companies are required to report every known side effect no matter how mild nor how infrequent they occur.

Invega Sustenna Side Effects

  • Reaction

An adverse drug reaction is an unwanted and undesirable effect of the medication that occurs during the normally prescribed use of that medication. It is not the same as an adverse drug event, which is a defined by the world health organization (WHO) as any adverse medical occurrence that may present during treatment with a medication, but does not necessarily have a cause-and-effect relationship with the medication.

The main difference between the two is that a drug reaction may occur despite the normal and safe administration of that drug, whereas an adverse drug event may occur with the inappropriate use of the medication. Adverse drug events may be due to medication errors; reactions may be a rash that develops despite safe practice.

Invega Sustenna Adverse Reactions

  • Interaction

Drug interactions occur when one drug alters the effect of another drug. Drug A may alter the effects of drug B, or vice versa, or both drug A and drug B may be altereddue to concomitant administration. As with side effects and adverse reactions, drug companies are required to report every interaction known, no matter how mild nor how infrequently they may occur.

Woman sleeping

Image source: Pexels

Invega Sustenna Interactions

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Conclusion

Invega Sustenna is a very useful medication in the treatment of:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Mania of bipolar disorder
  • Behavioral  and psychotic symptoms of dementia
  • As an adjunct therapy with other medication

Invega Sustenna is taken by mouth or can be taken by injection, even an extended release injection. This medication is a second-generation atypical antipsychotic medication that has far less side effects, reactions and interactions than its older relatives.

Invega Sustenna is a very serious medication that treats very serious disorders and needs to be treated with respect. It is inconvenient to take such a medication that has so many issues, and there hundreds of side effects, adverse reactions and interactions that can range from an unexpected benefit to a misadventure that could be lethal. 

Patients and even healthcare providers are not expected to remember so many drug related situations; that makes it even more important for the patient and the healthcare provider to work together. Patients have to give thought to what they are taking before they swallow a new medication, and healthcare providers have to consider all the aspects of one therapy before prescribing another.

Person holding medical pills

Image source: Pexels

The bottom line is that nobody asks for the disorders that causes them to need Invega Sustenna; but just as wit diabetes and hypertension, symptoms can be successfully managed. Whether its schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, the mania of bipolar disorder, symptoms of dementia or the need to have a combination of medications, a positive solution to the problem begins when the patient believes it is worthwhile to correctly manage their healthcare.

By taking Invega Sustenna exactly as prescribed and paying attention to a change in condition or a worsening condition, the interactions, reactions and side effects of Invega Sustenna may be minimized if not avoided. Invega Sustenna, when managed carefully, can make the difference between a diminished and an improved quality of life.

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