People with bipolar disorder (BD) often have difficulty with medication adherence. This pilot trial combined a behavioral customized adherence enhancement (CAE) approach with long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotic medication and assessed effects on adherence, BD symptoms, and functional status.
This 6-month prospective, uncontrolled trial of the intervention (CAE with LAI) in 30 poorly adherent individuals with BD assessed adherence using the Tablets Routine Questionnaire (TRQ) and symptoms using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), and Clinical Global Impressions (CGI). Functioning was assessed via the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS) and Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF). Assessments were conducted at screening, baseline, week 12, and week 24 (6 months). The LAI was aripiprazole once monthly. The study was conducted between April 2018 and May 2020.
The mean age of the sample was 49.5 years (SD = 9.3), and 56.7% were Black. Nine individuals (30%) terminated the study prematurely, 1 due to side effects (tremor). The mean LAI dose was 314.3 mg (SD = 96.4). The proportion of missed medications in the past week (mean TRQ) from screen to 24 weeks significantly improved from 50.1% (SD 24.8) to 16.9% (SD = 27.0) ( < .001), and past month TRQ improved from 40.6% (SD = 23.8) to 19.2% (SD = 24.0) (a trend for significance,  = .0599). TRQ change from baseline to 24 weeks was not significant. There were significant improvements on the BPRS ( < .001), MADRS ( = .01), YMRS ( < .001), CGI ( < .001), SOFAS ( < .001), and GAF ( < .001).
A personalized intervention to address adherence barriers combined with LAI can improve recovery outcomes in high-risk individuals with BD. Identifier: NCT03408873.

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