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Keywords:

  • adherence;
  • antipsychotic;
  • consumer;
  • mental health;
  • nursing;
  • peer support;
  • problem-solving approach;
  • psychosis;
  • schizophrenia;
  • telephone

Abstract

Aims

To assess if consumers with schizophrenia who were non-adherent to their oral antipsychotic medication had improved adherence and mental state, after participating in a problem-solving based peer support programme.

Background

Many people with schizophrenia are reluctant to take their antipsychotic medications. Peer support, combined with a problem-solving approach, could be used as a strategy to improve adherence outcomes. A peer is an individual with mental illness who offers support to others.

Design

A quasi-experimental time-series design was used to measure the effect of the problem-solving based peer support programme on adherence and mental state.

Method

Consumers who were non-adherent to oral antipsychotic medication were recruited from February 2009–June 2010. Peers contacted consumers by a weekly 20-minute telephone call for 8 weeks. Mental state was measured using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale-E and medication adherence was measured by self-report at baseline, postintervention (week 8) and follow-up (week 14). Data were analysed using the Friedman's test and Wilcoxon Signed Rank test for pair-wise comparisons.

Results

The study included 22 consumers and six peers: 19 males, mean age 35·1 years. Improvements were identified in medication adherence, negative symptoms and overall mental state between baseline and week 8. These improvements were maintained at week 14.

Conclusion

Medication adherence may be enhanced with the addition of a peer support intervention. A problem-solving based peer support programme could be implemented in the community setting for patients who are non-adherent with oral antipsychotic medication.