Aim. This paper reports a study examining patients’ satisfaction with and subjective experiences of taking antipsychotic medication.
Background. Treatment satisfaction is increasingly recognized as an important indication of the quality of health care, providing a reference point against which clinicians can gauge their practice. To date the published literature has been limited, with no clear indication of whether patients are indeed satisfied with their antipsychotic regimens, and what their subjective experiences with treatment are.
Method. A cross-sectional survey was carried out with patients receiving secondary care about their satisfaction with and subjective experiences of treatment with antipsychotic medication. The data were collected in 2000.
Results. One-hundred and seventy-five questionnaires were given to patients diagnosed with schizophrenia; 69 were returned, giving a response rate of 39%. Patients reported that they were satisfied with their medication and that they found it to be helpful. They also reported that they were satisfied with the communication they had with mental health professionals. However, they did not feel involved in treatment decisions and stated that they took medication because they were told to. Additionally, they reported that they had not been given written information about their treatment or warned about side effects, and stated that alternative non-pharmacological interventions had not been offered.
Conclusions. The results were consistent with previous studies. Patients were satisfied with their medication and reported that it was helpful. However, closer examination of the data revealed that they were experiencing side effects from medication that they felt were not effectively managed by mental health professionals. The clinical implications inferred from the findings provide an indication of best practice, and could be a point of reference for future research and development into clinical practice. Further research is warranted into understanding and measuring patients’ subjective experiences and satisfaction with antipsychotic medication.