Rates and clinical correlates of treatment non-adherence in schizoaffective bipolar patients

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2012 May;125(5):412-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2012.01837.x. Epub 2012 Feb 9.


Objective: To analyze demographical, clinical, and therapeutic variables that may be associated with pharmacological non-adherence in a sample of schizoaffective patients, bipolar type.

Method: Adherence to treatment and its clinical correlates were assessed at the end of a 10-year follow-up in 76 patients meeting DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Adherent and poorly adherent patients were compared regarding clinical and therapeutic variables.

Results: The rate of poorly adherent patients was 32/76 (41.2%) of the sample. Adherent patients were more likely to have presented an affective episode at illness onset and to have fewer purely - non-affective - psychotic episodes. Demographic or other clinical variables were not found to be associated to treatment adherence. Family history for psychiatric disorders or suicide did not correlate either, and neither did any specific pharmacological agent.

Conclusion: Rates of non-adherence in schizoaffective disorder are high. Adherence seems to be associated to a more affective course of illness (affective first episode and fewer purely psychotic episodes). Patients with more prominent schizophrenia-like characteristics could be at higher risk for poor adherence and need to be closely followed and monitored. Even when properly treated, schizoaffective disorder is a disabling and severe disorder with high risk for recurrences.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / complications
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotic Disorders / complications
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Risk Factors