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Collecting prospective data on medication adherence, course of illness, course of treatment, cost effectiveness and quality of life among patients with schizophrenia under the German health system.
The ELAN study was conducted as a multi-centre, non-interventional observation study. 374 patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (ICD-10 F2) who had been discharged with a medication of quetiapine (N=183), olanzapine (N=91) or risperidone (N=100) were included. Follow-up interviews were conducted after 6,12,18 and 24 months. Applied instruments comprised PANSS, MARS-S, EPS-M, AIMS-S, GAF, ZST and a questionnaire for quality of life.
For each follow-up, at least 80% of the original sample could be included. After two years, between 39% and 43% of patients continued to take the drug prescribed at discharge. Only between 4% and 7% of patients received no neuroleptic treatment in the last 6 months, respectively. The variety of drugs used increased during the course. Only small differences could be found regarding the defined outcome measures (PANSS, GAF, rehospitalisation rate) and side effects. Changes in medication were mostly due to insufficient efficacy or side effects. Doctor's recommendations had an important influence on patients’ decisions.
Under conditions of routine treatment, medication adherence was much greater and differences between drugs were smaller than reported in randomised controlled clinical trials. Taking into account the low sample selection bias and the small percentage of lost-to-follow-up subjects, this study provides some new insight into routine clinical treatment and outcomes in patients with schizophrenia.