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People with Schizophrenia Don’t Stay on Meds

Random drugsThe vast majority of people — over 90% — with schizophrenia fail to stay on their prescribed antipsychotic medications after one year.

Most people with this disorder are prescribed medication for years at a time as a method for reducing the effect of the disorder’s primary symptoms — hallucinations and delusions.

The researchers from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy studied 5,898 people with schizophrenia from Maryland who were on Medicaid. The subjects were placed on one of the following atypical antipsychotic medications: aripiprazole (Abilify); olanzapine (Zyprexa); quetiapine (Seroquel); risperidone (Risperdal); and ziprasidone (Geodon).

Quetiapine (Seroquel) was associated with significantly higher hazard of discontinuation than olanzapine (Zyprexa), which was the study’s reference drug.

Otherwise, discontinuation rates were high at one-year follow-up and did not differ significantly for any of the drugs studied.

Newer antipsychotic medications are touted as having more tolerable side effects. Drug makers thought by offering drugs with more tolerable side effects than older antipsychotic medications, prescription adherence rates would rise.

Men, people who were older, and people who were already on another medication were significantly less likely to discontinue their medication than others in the study. People who had a previous hospitalization were significantly more likely to discontinue their prescribed medication in the study.

The study will appear in an upcoming issue of Schizophrenia Research and is consistent with previous findings in this area.

Source: Mullins CD, Obeidat NA, Cuffel BJ, Naradzay J, Loebel AD. (2007). Risk of discontinuation of atypical antipsychotic agents in the treatment of schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2007 Jun 25.

People with Schizophrenia Don’t Stay on Meds

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). People with Schizophrenia Don’t Stay on Meds. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 19, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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