Aim: To assess the degree of compliance and adherence to treatment during the follow-up of schizophrenic outpatients after a new therapeutic strategy had been initiated.
Methods: A multicenter, retrospective, prospective, observational study of 1,848 outpatients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria) was conducted. Patients were treated either with oral or injectable conventional or second generation antipsychotics, and were followed up for 3 months at mental health centers. Patient compliance with the pharmacological treatment was assessed by the use of questionnaires, scales, medication accountability, and the Medication Event Monitoring System. Patients were considered compliant if they reported a high compliance rate (≥80%).
Results: At baseline only 29% of patients on oral medication were compliant compared with 79% of patients on injectable medication (injection counting) (OR= 9.11; 95% CI 6.02-13.77; P<.0001). At the 3 month visit, 84% of patients had changed their treatment and in these, the compliance rate of those on injectable medication was 94% versus 87% of patients taking oral medication (OR= 2.47; 95% CI 1.21-5.05; P=.022).
Conclusion: The use of long-acting injectable antipsychotics, which improves compliance rates and patient follow-up, should facilitate the management of Spanish patients with schizophrenia in mental health centers.