By On May 25th, 2007

Poor understanding about one’s condition is most often the barrier to patients taking antipsychotic drugs

Often people with mental illness neglect to take their prescribed antipsychotic medications because of a lack of understanding about their illness, forgetfulness, and simply making a decision to stop. John Kane, MD, when speaking at a workshop sponsored by the American Psychiatric Association, reported that patients with schizophrenia often have difficulty taking their antipsychotic medications as a result of their illness, their illness effecting their ability to make good judgments. “The other thing that can happen is that individuals can be lulled into a false sense of security. When they’re doing particularly well, they think that perhaps they don’t need to take their medication,” according to Dr. Kane. “One can stop taking medication in an illness like schizophrenia and not necessarily notice a change immediately.” The following is an excerpt from medpage today that discusses a pilot study’s findings on the subject:

A total of 3,156 physicians and other clinicians were surveyed, including 134 in the pilot study and 3,022 in the national roll-out.

In all, 61 (46%) of the pilot program physicians returned surveys, and data on 309 patients collected from these physicians revealed that “poor insight into illness” was the most common reason given for nonadherence, reported for 74% of patients.

The same reason was cited most often in the larger analysis, which collected data on 13,538 patients from 1,522 physicians — about a 50% return. “Poor insight into illness” was cited for 68% of patients.

Second most often cited was “previous discontinuation of medication on own,” reported for 68% of patients by physicians in both the pilot and national studies. Forgetting medication was reported for 67% in the pilot study and 66% in the national survey.

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