July 07, 2005

Nonadherence to Schizophrenia Treatment

Attitudes toward antipsychotic medication: the impact of clinical variables and relationships with health professionals.

Relapse is often caused by nonadherence to antipsychotic medication.

A new study attempts to address this issue of nonadherence by examining patients' attitudes toward medication and their relationships with health professionals. Researchers conducted the study by measuring variables such as: "symptoms, insight, drug adverse effects, self-reported adherence, attitudes toward treatment, perceived relationship with the prescriber, ward atmosphere, and admission experience," in participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

In order to gather data, researchers approached patients who had been admitted into inpatient wards "at 8 hospitals in North Wales and the Northwest of England." The researchers analyzed the data and found that participant "attitudes toward treatment were predicted by insight, relationship with staff (especially the physician-prescriber), and the patient's admission experience..." The researchers concluded that patients's relationships with clinicians seem to effect their attitudes toward treatment and that good relationships between patient and clinician may have positive effects. However, the researchers emphasized that the data was gathered during acute admission. Thus, the results do not necessarily reflect on chronic admission. Further, despite gathering information on participant admission experience, drug adverse affects, etc. the researchers did not address the possible impacts of these variables on patients' relationships with clinicians. Nevertheless, and as already stated, the results suggest that a good relationship with the main prescriber or treatment provider can have a positive impact on the patient's view of treatment.

Resources that can help: See "Working with the Psychiatrist" in our FAQ guide for tips on what to look for in a good psychiatrist and how to communicate your needs: http://www.schizophrenia.com/family/FAQgen.htm#pdoc

More information about the costs of non-adherance to treatment in schizophrenia, and options for families if someone cannot realize that they are ill: http://www.schizophrenia.com/invol.html

To learn more about relapse in schizophrenia:

Source Article: "Attitudes toward antipsychotic medication: the impact of clinical variables and relationships with health professionals." Authors: Day JC, Bentall RP, Roberts C, Randall F, Rogers A, Cattell D, Healy D, Rae P, Power C. Date: July 2005.


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