Objective: Overestimating patients' medication adherence diminishes the ability of psychiatric care providers to prescribe the most effective treatment and to identify the root causes of treatment resistance in schizophrenia. This study was conducted to determine how credible patient drug adherence information (PDAI) might change prescribers' treatment decisions.
Methods: In an online survey containing 8 clinical case vignettes describing patients with schizophrenia, health care practitioners who prescribe antipsychotics to patients with schizophrenia were instructed to choose a preferred treatment recommendation from a set of predefined pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic options. The prescribers were randomly assigned to an experimental or a control group, with only the experimental group receiving PDAI. The primary outcome was the prescribers' treatment choice for each case. Between-group differences were analyzed using multinomial logistic regression.
Results: A convenience sample (n=219) of prescribers completed the survey. For 3 nonadherent patient vignettes, respondents in the experimental group were more likely to choose a long-acting injectable antipsychotic compared with those in the control group (77.7% experimental vs 25.8% control; P<0.001). For 2 adherent but poorly controlled patient vignettes, prescribers who received PDAI were more likely to increase the antipsychotic dose compared with the control group (49.1% vs 39.1%; P<0.001). For the adherent and well-controlled patient vignette, respondents in both groups made similar treatment recommendations across all choices (P=0.099), but respondents in the experimental arm were more likely to recommend monitoring clinical stability (87.2% experimental vs 75.5% control, reference group).
Conclusion: The results illustrate how credible PDAI can facilitate more appropriate clinical decisions for patients with schizophrenia.
Keywords: adherence; case vignettes; long-acting injectables; schizophrenia; treatment decision.