Using U.S. pharmacy and medical claims, medication adherence patterns of patients with serious mental illness suggest that adherence to atypical antipsychotics may be related to adherence to other prescription drugs. This study investigated whether adherence to an atypical antipsychotic was related to adherence to other prescribed psychiatric drugs using self-reported data from patients with bipolar disorder.
Daily self-reported medication data were available from 123 patients with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder receiving treatment as usual who took at least 1 atypical antipsychotic over a 12-week period. Patients took a mean of 4.0±1.7 psychiatric drugs including the antipsychotic. The adherence rate for the atypical antipsychotic was compared to that for other psychiatric drugs to determine if the adherence rate for the atypical antipsychotic differed from that of the other psychiatric drug by at least ±10%.
Of the 123 patients, 58 (47.2%) had an adherence rate for the atypical antipsychotic that differed from the adherence rate for at least 1 other psychiatric drug by at least±10%, and 65 (52.8%) patients had no difference in adherence rates. The patients with a difference took a larger total number of psychiatric drugs (p<0.001), had a larger daily pill burden (p=0.020) and a lower adherence rate with the atypical antipsychotic (p=0.007), and were more likely to take an antianxiety drug (p<0.001).
Adherence with an atypical antipsychotic was not useful for estimating adherence to other psychiatric drugs in about half of the patients with bipolar disorder.
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