Predictors of antipsychotic medication adherence in patients recovering from a first psychotic episode
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BACKGROUND: Many patients recovering from a first psychotic episode will discontinue medication against medical advice, even before a 1-year treatment course is completed. Factors associated with treatment adherence in patients with chronic schizophrenia include beliefs about severity of illness and need for treatment, treatment with typical versus atypical antipsychotic and medication side effects. METHOD: In this 2-year prospective study of 254 patients recovering from a first episode of schizophrenia, schizophreniform, or schizoaffective disorder we examined the relationship between antipsychotic medication non-adherence and patient beliefs about: need for treatment, antipsychotic medication benefits, and negative aspects of antipsychotic medication treatment. We also examined the relationship between medication non-adherence and treatment with either haloperidol or olanzapine, and objective measures of symptom response and side effects. RESULTS: The likelihood of becoming medication non-adherent for 1 week or longer was greater in subjects whose belief in need for treatment was less (HR=1.75, 95% CI 1.16, 2.65, p=0.0077) or who believed medications were of low benefit (HR=2.88, 95 CI 1.79-4.65, p<0.0001). Subjects randomized to haloperidol were more likely to become medication non-adherent for >or=1 week than subjects randomized to olanzapine (HR-1.51, 95% CI 1.01, 2.27, p=0.045). CONCLUSION: Beliefs about need for treatment and the benefits of antipsychotic medication may be intervention targets to improve likelihood of long-term medication adherence in patients recovering from a first episode of schizophrenia, schizoaffective, or schizophreniform disorder.
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