Medication adherence of individuals with a first episode of psychosis


Jean Addington, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 250 College Street, Toronto, Ontario MST 1R8 Canada


Objective:  To determine rates of adherence to antipsychotic medication in first episode patients and the correlates of adherence in this group.

Method:  Subjects were the first 200 admissions to an Early Psychosis Program. Adherence was determined on a three-point scale. Symptoms, medication side-effects, quality of life, substance use and family involvement were examined longitudinally.

Results:  In their first year in the program 39% were non-adherent, 20% inadequately adherent, and 41% adherent. Non-adherent patients demonstrated more positive symptoms, more relapses, more alcohol and cannabis use, reduced insight, and poorer quality of life. They were younger, had an earlier age of onset and less likely to have a family member involved in treatment.

Conclusion:  Results for this group are similar to those reported in the literature. Correlates are often the consequence of non-adherence. Non-compliance has to be anticipated and relationships maintained with patients and families to intervene as soon as possible to minimize the consequence of non-compliance.