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Strategies for Improving Adherence to Second-Generation Antipsychotics in Patients with Schizophrenia by Increasing Ease of Use


Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: November 2005 - Volume 11 - Issue 6 - p 369-378

Despite the advances in the treatment of patients with schizophrenia that have occurred since the introduction of the second-generation (atypical) antipsychotic agents, a leading cause of suboptimal outcome is poor patient adherence to oral medication. Partial adherence can be attributed to a number of factors, including lack of insight, cognitive dysfunction, a complicated treatment regimen, drug-related side effects, patient attitude, lack of patient education, and cultural factors. A number of strategies, including psychosocial interventions, cognitive-behavioral techniques, strategies that minimize side effects, and pharmacological approaches that increase ease of medication use, can be employed to support adherence and improve long-term outcomes. This article focuses on strategies for increasing ease of use of antipsychotics in the treatment of patients with schizophrenia. These strategies include using monotherapy rather than polypharmacy, simplifying the medication regimen, and using a long-acting antipsychotic formulation. The goal of these strategies is to improve adherence and help prevent relapse by ensuring continuous antipsychotic coverage. Strategies that optimize ease of use of medication treatment for schizophrenia and thus improve adherence to treatment are likely to promote the attainment of new treatment goals and improved patient outcomes.

BURTON: Royal Brisbane Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia.

Please send correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr Simon Burton FRANZCP, Staff Psychiatrist, J Floor Mental Health Centre, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Herston Road, Herston Queensland 4029, Australia.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.