An increasing amount of research has identified treatment non-adherence as a pervasive problem that can lead to relapse and hospitalization. Around 40% of patients with bipolar disorder do not adhere to their medication but there has been little research into whether older patients are more or less likely to adhere to their treatment than younger ones. A study of 32,991 people in the U.S. compared adherence to antipsychotic medication in older (over 60) and younger patients with bipolar disorder. The researchers found that among the older group 61% were fully adherent, 19% were partially adherent and 20% were non-adherent compared to 49.5%, 21.8% and 28.7% respectively for the younger patients. The researchers measured adherence by comparing the medication the patients had actually been given to the medication they should have received had they been taking all their pills. For both groups of participants drug abuse and homelessness had a negative effect on treatment adherence.
Sajatovic, Martha ... [et al] - Age comparison of treatment adherence with antipsychotic medications among individuals with bipolar disorder International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry October 2007, 22(10), 992-998