Monday, September 22, 2008

Risk factors for medication non-adherence

Antipsychotic medications are a cornerstone of treatment and recovery for people with schizophrenia. However, many people have difficulty adhering to prescribed treatments and the average rate of non-adherence for schizophrenia is 50%. Failure to take medication is the most important risk factor leading to relapse and can result in a fivefold increase in the rate of relapse. An Australian study of 81 service users looked into the factors behind medication omission, including the participants' levels of insight into their condition and their experience and feelings of stigma as a consequence of their mental illness. Most participants had insight into their illness and were aware of the stigma attached to it. Around 70% of them had experienced annoying side effects while nearly half admitted alcohol consumption. About a fifth admitted they had missed taking medication in the previous week. A younger age, the perception of negative side effects and lack of access to a psychiatrist all made it less likely that people would adhere to their medication.

McCann, T.V.., Boardman, G. and Clark, E. - Risk profiles for non-adherence to anti-psychotic medications Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing October 2008, 15(8), 622-629

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