Loxapine inhalation powder is prescribed to treat agitation in adults with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It belongs to a group of medications called typical antipsychotics and works by blocking the effects of certain brain chemicals that appear to be high in people with these medical conditions. There are also off-label (unapproved) uses for loxapine inhalation powder, such as treating agitation caused by other medical conditions.
An Overview of Uses for Loxapine Inhalation Powder
Schizophrenia is a chronic, disabling mental health disorder associated with impaired thinking, abnormal emotional responses, and bizarre behaviors. People with schizophrenia can lose touch with reality. They can have hallucinations, when they hear, see, or smell things that aren't real. They can also have delusions (believing things that aren't true). For example, a person with schizophrenia may think someone is out to harm them, or that other people are controlling their thoughts and actions (see Symptoms of Schizophrenia for more detailed information symptoms associated with this disorder).
Bipolar disorder is another serious brain disorder, in which people shift between periods of unusual, intense happiness and energy (known as mania) and periods of extreme low, or depression(see Bipolar Disorder Symptoms).There are different types of bipolar disorder. The type known as bipolar I disorder is a more severe form of the condition. Mania symptoms can be so severe with bipolar type I that hospitalization is usually required until the mania is under control.
When symptoms are particularly severe, people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may become agitated. Acute agitation is a condition associated with restless anxiety and purposeless activity, usually related to feelings of internal tension that are difficult to self-control. People with acute anxiety may have a hard time controlling their actions, and may be uncooperative and hostile to others, even to those trying to help them. As it worsens, acute anxiety can be dangerous, both to the person experiencing it and to other people.
Acute agitation is often managed medically with an anti-anxiety medicine known as lorazepam (Ativan®), or with an antipsychotic medication. Because a rapid calming effect is desired, and because it can be difficult to get someone who is acutely agitated to take a pill, these medicines are normally given as an injection into a muscle (an intramuscular, or IM, injection). However, people who are agitated often resist getting an IM injection, making it somewhat difficult to administer.
Loxapine inhalation powder is the first noninjectable medicine approved for the treatment of acute agitation. It comes in the form of a powder that is inhaled into the mouth using a single-use, disposable inhaler. Loxapine inhalation powder is specifically approved to control acute agitation in people with schizophrenia or bipolar type I disorder. In studies, it has been shown to reduce agitation in as quickly as 10 minutes.
Kwentus J, Riesenberg RA, Marandi M et al. Rapid acute treatment of agitation in patients with bipolar I disorder: a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial with inhaled loxapine. Bipolar Disord 2012; 14(1): 31-40.
Schoenstadt A. Bipolar (February 8, 2007). eMedTV Web site. Available at: http://bipolar-disorder.emedtv.com/bipolar-disorder/bipolar.html. February 7, 2013.
Schoenstadt A. Schizophrenia (September 23, 2008). eMedTV Web site. Available at: http://schizophrenia.emedtv.com/schizophrenia/schizophrenia.html. February 7, 2013.
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