The British Journal of Psychiatry

Abstract

The levels of fluphenazine and fluphenazine sulphoxide in schizophrenic patients who were randomly assigned to receive either 5 mg or 25 mg of fluphenazine decanoate every two weeks were monitored. Patients treated with 25 mg of fluphenazine decanoate required three months to reach a steady-state plasma level, indicating that those patients who are being converted from oral to depot fluphenazine should continue to receive oral supplementation during the first three months of treatment with fluphenazine decanoate. Plasma levels of fluphenazine sulphoxide were lower than levels of fluphenazine. At six and nine months following randomisation, there was a statistically significant relationship between lower fluphenazine plasma levels and an increased risk of psychotic exacerbations. A relatively weak relationship was found between fluphenazine plasma levels and akinesia, but non-significant relationships between fluphenazine levels and other neurological side-effects including akathisia, retardation, and tardive dyskinesia. Monitoring the plasma levels may be helpful to clinicians who are attempting to treat stabilised patients with the lowest effective dose of fluphenazine decanoate.