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Why people do not take their psychotropic drugs as prescribed: results of the 2000 National Psychiatric Morbidity Survey

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Cooper C, Bebbington P, King M, Brugha T, Meltzer H, Bhugra D, Jenkins R. Why people do not take their psychotropic drugs as prescribed: results of the 2000 National Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. Objective: 

We examined the prevalence and determinants of the reasons given for non-adherence to psychiatric medication in a representative community survey. Method: 

We used data for all participants taking oral psychotropic medication (n = 634) from the 2000 British Survey of National Psychiatric Morbidity. Results: 

Of participants interviewed, 217 (34.2%) reported incomplete adherence to their psychiatric medication. Reasons given included forgetting, losing, running out (37.4%); thinking medication unnecessary (24.6%); reluctance to take drugs (18.9%) and side-effects (14.2%). Those giving forgetfulness or side-effects as reasons were younger. Side-effects were reported more frequently by people with a lower IQ or with psychosis. Those taking Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors were more likely to forget to take their medication. Conclusion: 

Two-fifths of people reported that missing their medication was a decision taken because they did not want it or think it necessary. Side-effects are a relatively uncommon reason for under-medication. Our results have implications for interventions to assist adherence.
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Keywords: patient compliance; prevalence; psychotropic drugs

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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