Study finds widespread nonadherence among schizophrenia patients

Most patients non-adherent due to dislike of drugs, side effects

NEW YORK — Nearly half of patients with schizophrenia don't comply with doctors' prescription instructions, according to a new physician survey.

Research firm GfK found non-compliance among 45% of patients, an increase of four percentage points over last year. The most common reasons included dislike of medication, concern about side effects and denial of illness. The overall level of non-compliance has ranged between 41% and 46% since 2009, and 74% of doctors cited dislike of medications as a reason, while 71% cited such side effects as tremors, sleepiness and weight gain.

Depot drugs, which only need to be taken once a week or less, have been the most talked-about new developments in the schizophrenia category, but they have not substantially improved compliance, GfK found. Depot drugs account for roughly one-fifth of all schizophrenia prescriptions, up slightly from last year.

"Drug manufacturers need to address the top unsatisfied requirements among psychiatrists, and even market to those benefits," GfK health team research director Paul Wojciak said. "As more doctors become familiar with the benefits of depot drugs, we may see a shift in how schizophrenia is treated in the coming years."


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