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Keywords:

  • adverse effects of medication;
  • antipsychotic;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • insight;
  • schizophrenia

Objective:  The present study aimed: (i) to compare the level of quality of life (QOL) among subjects with bipolar disorder (BD) and schizophrenia who were in remission and healthy control subjects and (ii) to examine the association of QOL with insight, adverse effects of medication and use of atypical antipsychotics among subjects with BD and schizophrenia who were in remission by controlling other confounding factors.

Methods:  The QOL on the four domains of the World Health Organization Questionnaire on Quality of Life: Short Form – Taiwan version (WHOQOL-BREF) were compared between 96 subjects with BD in remission, 96 subjects with schizophrenia in remission and 106 healthy control subjects. The association between the four QOL domains and subjects’ insight, adverse effects of medication and use of atypical antipsychotics were examined using multiple regression analyses in the subjects with BD and schizophrenia in remission.

Results:  The results demonstrated that the subjects with BD in remission had similarly poor levels of QOL in all four domains as those subjects with schizophrenia in remission, and both subjects with BD and schizophrenia had poorer QOL than those in the control group. For both subjects with BD and schizophrenia in remission, insight was negatively associated with QOL on the physical domain, and adverse effects of medication were negatively associated with QOL on the physical and environment domains. Use of atypical antipsychotics was not associated with QOL, but subjects with BD receiving olanzapine perceived better psychological QOL than those receiving risperidone and better psychological and social relationship QOL than those receiving no atypical antipsychotic.

Conclusions:  The results of the present study indicate that subjects with BD are dissatisfied with their QOL, even when they are in a remitted state. Clinicians must consider the negative influences of insight and adverse effects of medication on QOL of patients with BD and schizophrenia in remission.