Improving Antipsychotic Adherence Among Patients With Serious Mental Illness

2014-07-24 14:33:49 | BioPortfolio


This is a randomized controlled trial examining the effectiveness of a pharmacy-based intervention designed to improve adherence with antipsychotic medications among patients with serious mental illness.


Background: Anti-psychotic medications are an essential component of the treatment of patients with schizophrenia. Unfortunately, pharmacy data indicate that 40% of VA patients with schizophrenia are poorly adherent with their antipsychotics. These patients are at much greater risk for hospitalization. Objectives: We are examining the effectiveness of a practical, pharmacy-based intervention for improving antipsychotic adherence among patients with serious mental illness (SMI). Specifically, we are examining whether this pharmacy-based intervention increases antipsychotic medication adherence and patient satisfaction with care and decreases psychiatric symptoms, and inpatient utilization. We are also examining the relative effectiveness of the pharmacy-based intervention among patients with varying: a) degrees of cognitive limitations, b) degrees of insight into their illness, and c) attitudes towards their medications. Methods: Using pharmacy and administrative data, we are identifying patients with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or severe bipolar disorder requiring antipsychotic medication who have had poor antipsychotic adherence in the previous year. Patients must have completed at least two outpatient psychiatric visits at one of the study sites. Patients are randomized to: 1) usual care; or 2) the Pharmacy Based intervention. The pharmacy-based intervention consists of usual care plus: 1) "unit-of-use" adherence packaging; 2) a patient education session; 3) refill reminders; and 4) clinician notification of missed fills. In-person patient assessments are conducted at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months following randomization. Medical record and administrative data will be collected at baseline, 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months following randomization. The primary outcome measure is medication adherence as measured by the medication possession ratio and adherence categories which combine pharmacy information with patient self-report and antipsychotic blood levels. Patients� level of psychiatric symptoms, quality of life, and satisfaction are secondary outcome measures. In supplemental analyses, we will compare the effectiveness of the pharmacy-based intervention among subgroups of patients who have varying degrees of cognitive limitations, insight into their illness, and attitudes towards antipsychotic medication. Findings: One hundred and fifty patients have been enrolled in the study. Follow-up rates have been high, with 90% of patients completing 6 month follow up assessments and 80% completing 12 month assessments. In person follow up visits are now complete.

Findings regarding the accuracy of administrative diagnoses of schizophrenia, the accuracy of pharmacy data in identifying patients with poor adherence, and patient factors associated with study recruitment have been presented at national meetings. Main study analyses are now ongoing. 6. Status: Enrollment and inperson-patient follow up are complete. Study analyses are now in progress. Impact: Improving adherence among SMI patients is critical to improving their outcomes. This study examines the effectiveness of a practical, low-cost intervention to for these vulnerable patients.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment




Unit of use medication packaging, Mailed reminders to patient when medication refills are due, Note to Mental Health Provider when refill is overdue, Aligning all prescriptions to fall due on same date


VA San Diego Health Care System
San Diego
United States




Department of Veterans Affairs

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-24T14:33:49-0400

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