Medication adherence in patients with schizophrenia.

Medication adherence in patients with schizophrenia.

Int J Psychiatry Med. 2016;51(2):211-9

Authors: Phan SV

Abstract
Medication nonadherence is common among patients with schizophrenia and due to a variety of factors including lack of insight, psychopathology, substance use disorder, issues associated with treatment, stigma, fragmentation of care, cultural influences, and socioeconomic status. Among this population, nonadherence is problematic because it can lead to decompensation or exacerbation of symptoms, relapse, rehospitalization or greater use of emergency psychiatric services, functional decline, and increased risk of death. Psychoeducational approaches alone are ineffective, but in combination with behavioral interventions, appear to be effective. Involving the patient's support system, in addition to other interventions, can improve treatment adherence. Many medication-related factors, such as effectiveness and tolerability of antipsychotics, regimen complexity, and past medication trials impact appropriate medication use. Therefore, optimizing the patient's pharmacotherapeutic regimens can improve adherence. Additional factors favorably influencing adherence include involving the patient in their treatment, fostering a therapeutic alliance, implementing/using reminder systems, and addressing substance use disorder. Medication nonadherence arises from multiple reasons that vary between patients. Thus, the most effective strategies to improve adherence are multifactorial and may involve both psychoeducational and behavioral techniques, as well as previously listed approaches. Strategies should be targeted toward the patient and their support system, whenever possible, to further improve the chances of appropriate medication use. Recognizing that all patients with schizophrenia are at risk for medication nonadherence is important. No one technique has been shown to be most effective; therefore, the risk for nonadherence should continually be assessed and multiple strategies should be targeted to the patient (and caregiver) and repeatedly implemented throughout the course of the patient's illness.

PMID: 27079779 [PubMed - in process]