Education of Family and Patients about Schizophrenia Beneficial

It was reported today by the Journal of Clinical pharmacology that Insight by schizophrenic patients and their families into the disease has a beneficial influence on compliance with medication and overall treatment, researchers writing in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology report.

"The most important thing we found is that it is possible to measure the insight of patients and of the family members," lead author Dr. Cedric M. Smith, of the State University of New York at Buffalo, told Reuters Health. Using the Scale to Assess Unawareness of Mental Disorder, Dr. Smith's team studied 23 inpatients and 10 outpatients, as well as family members for 22 of those in the group. "We confirmed our general impression that the more patients knew, the more compliant they tended to be," Dr. Smith said. "People who have more side effects are likely to be less compliant, to reduce their medications or not take them at all, and we have some confirmation of that as well."

Dr. Smith emphasized that education of family members, as well as patients, about symptoms and drug effects can lead to improved management. "If you look at different symptoms," he told Reuters Health, "the degree of awareness by a family member or patient was quite different. For example, both were quite aware of someone hallucinating, but overly aggressive behavior was less likely to be recognized as a disease symptom."

Dr. Smith has found that a computer program where patients answer questions about what drugs they are taking and when they should take their medications is particularly helpful in communicating with patients. "You get a response back from the patient and that's a critical issue. It makes a big difference if you actually examine patient education in terms of what the patient actually heard. All too often the physician distributes information but the next step, ascertaining if the patient or significant other heard that and is responding correctly, is a critical issue."

J Clin Pharmacol 1997;37147-154.

I couldn't find the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology on the web, but found the following:

European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (just subscription info)

The Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology - Abstracts and subs. info

A good list of Pharmacology links:

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