Poor adherence and negative attitudes to treatment are common clinical problems when treating psychotic disorders.
This study investigated how schizophrenia core symptoms and daily functioning affect treatment adherence and attitudes toward antipsychotic medication and to compare patients using clozapine or other antipsychotics.
A cross-sectional study with data from 275 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorder. Patients adherence, attitudes, insight and side-effects were evaluated using the Attitudes toward Neuroleptic Treatment scale. Overall symptomology was measured using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Health of the Nation Outcome Scale (HoNOS). The functioning was assessed using activities of daily living scale, instrumental activities of daily living scale and social functioning of daily living scale.
Self-reported treatment adherence was high. Of the patients, 83% reported using at least 75% of the prescribed medication. Having more symptoms was related with more negative attitude towards treatment. There was a modest association with functioning and treatment adherence and attitude toward antipsychotic treatment. Attitudes affected on adherence in non-clozapine but not in clozapine groups.
Early detection of non-adherence is difficult. Systematic evaluation of attitudes toward the treatment could be one way to assess this problem, along with optimized medication, prompt evaluation of side effects and flexible use of psychosocial treatments.