Treatment non-adherence

What is treatment non-adherence?

Non-adherence to treatments is a widespread issue that hampers clinical management of many mental disorders. It reduces the success of the treatment regimen and the ability to achieve remission from illness, but it also increases the burden for relapse treatments, emergency admissions and hospitalisation. Greater adherence to treatment can contribute not only to more successful disorder management and better quality of life, but also to improved attitudes towards treatment and medication, as well as increasing insight and confidence.

What is the evidence for treatment non-adherence?

Moderate to high quality evidence found around 44% of people with bipolar disorder were non-adherent to medications. Moderate to low quality evidence found factors associated with antipsychotic non-adherence included poor insight, substance use, negative attitudes toward medication, medication side effects, and to a lesser extent, cognitive impairments.

In children and adolescents, moderate to high quality evidence found factors associated with medication non-adherence included greater illness severity, medication side effects, and having a comorbid substance use disorder or ADHD. Moderate quality evidence found factors associated with medication adherence in children and adolescents included having positive patient and family attitudes toward care, a positive clinician-patient relationship, adherence to psychotherapy, good insight, and a comorbid medical illness.

November 2021

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Last updated at: 4:05 pm, 7th November 2021
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