Patients' perceptions of information received about medication prescribed for bipolar disorder: implications for informed choice

J Affect Disord. 2007 Jun;100(1-3):253-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2006.10.018. Epub 2006 Dec 15.


Background: Previous research suggests that patients are dissatisfied with information provided about medication prescribed for mental illness, but has not identified which aspects of information provision are unsatisfactory.

Methods: 223 members of the Manic Depression Fellowship (MDF) completed the Satisfaction with Information about Medicines Scale (SIMS), a validated measure of patients' satisfaction with various aspects of information provision.

Results: Patients reported highest dissatisfaction with information about potential problems associated with medication; over 60% of participants reported dissatisfaction with information about the risks of side effects and whether the medication would affect their sex lives. Participants were significantly less satisfied with information about potential problems associated with their medication than people prescribed medication for HIV in a previously reported study (p<.01). Those reporting low adherence to medication had significantly lower satisfaction with information scores than those reporting high adherence (p<.05).

Limitations: The sample could be prone to selection bias; participants were members of an organisation for people affected by bipolar disorder, whilst the comparator group was a NHS HIV clinic sample. Furthermore, the objective amount and type of information provided was not assessed, therefore the cause of patients' dissatisfaction is not known.

Conclusions: Perceived satisfaction with information is low, particularly in relation to possible drug side-effects. Health practitioners need to elicit individuals' information requirements and tailor information to meet their needs, in order to facilitate informed choice and adherence to treatment. Moreover, they need to provide information in a manner appropriate for a patient's cognitive functioning at different illness phases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Disclosure*
  • Drug Prescriptions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires