Partial compliance in schizophrenia and the impact on patient outcomes

Psychiatry Res. 2008 Nov 30;161(2):235-47. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2007.07.012. Epub 2008 Oct 11.


This review evaluates the impact of partial compliance on treatment outcomes in schizophrenia and discusses strategies that may be implemented to enhance compliance. As such, a search of English language articles evaluating compliance in schizophrenia was performed using Medline and EMBASE, with no time limits. Abstracts and posters presented at key psychiatry congresses were also reviewed. Results demonstrated that partial compliance with antipsychotic medication is a significant barrier to achieving optimal outcomes in schizophrenia. The problem increases with the duration of treatment, and is difficult to monitor. The impact of partial compliance is significant, leading to increases in psychotic symptoms, the risk of relapse and rehospitalization, and even suicide. Compliance is a complex phenomenon, influenced by aspects of the illness itself such as cognitive impairment and patients' health beliefs. The patient's environment and therapeutic alliance also influence medication compliance. Behavioural and pharmacological measures should be used together to improve compliance. While atypical antipsychotics have demonstrated improvements in psychotic symptoms, insight and cognition, these may not be enough to ensure compliance with oral daily medication. Long-acting risperidone may therefore bring together the benefits of the atypical antipsychotics with the long-acting injection delivery system required to build a platform for improved outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Awareness
  • Health Status
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Medication Adherence* / psychology
  • Patient Readmission
  • Prognosis
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Antipsychotic Agents