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Homeless People Often Fail to Take Psychotic Meds

Homeless People Often Fail to Take Psychotic Meds

It is known that serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are overrepresented among homeless people.

A new Canadian study finds that despite full insurance and drug coverage, a very small percentage of this population adhere to prescribed medication regimens.

Stefanie Rezansoff, a Simon Fraser University researcher explains that her study is the first to investigate adherence to antipsychotic medication among the homeless.

She found only 12 percent of the 290 individuals studied were adherent to their medications at the level needed to be effective. This is despite having full drug coverage and high access to pharmacies.

“Treatment protocols recommend that patients receive these medications continuously once they’re initiated, but this can be difficult to ensure when people are precariously housed,” says Rezansoff.

“There’s a strong link between low adherence and long-term homelessness.”

When psychotic symptoms are not effectively managed, individuals are at a higher risk of hospitalization, arrest, victimization, and even suicide.

The research team is currently investigating interventions to improve adherence to antipsychotic medications.

New initiatives that may improve medication compliance and enhance mental health outcomes include supported housing, and prescribing long-acting injections.

Researcher also recommend regular and frequent contact between patients and primary healthcare providers.

Source: Simon Fraser University

Homeless People Often Fail to Take Psychotic 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). Homeless People Often Fail to Take Psychotic Meds. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 19 Aug 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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