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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Nov;63(11):1063-7. Epub 2007 Aug 16.

Attitudes toward psychiatric drug treatment: the experience of being treated.

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Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of La Laguna, Campus de Ofra, Carretera La Cuesta-Taco s/n., 38071, La Laguna Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.



Effectiveness and tolerability of psychiatric medications are not only determined by the drug's pharmacological profile but through the interaction of different factors, including patients' attitudes toward their prescribed medications. Increased knowledge about those attitudes may help prescribers to improve patient concordance and thereby the effectiveness of the pharmacological therapy.


The goal of this study was to assess stable psychiatric outpatients' attitudes toward psychiatric drug treatment and to what extent patients and public opinions on this subject diverge as a consequence of being on this type of medication.


Two anonymous self-reported questionnaires [Drug Attitude Inventory (DAI)-10 and an abridge version of Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ)] were administered to 270 stable psychiatric outpatients under treatment and 292 citizens naïve to psychotropic medication.


Psychiatric patients showed a more positive attitude toward medication (DAI score 3.6 vs. -0.7; range -10 to +10; negative to positive). Up to 77% of patients showed positive scores compared with only 36% in the general population. Multiple regression analysis showed that none of the variables in the analysis have a predictive value with regard to the attitude toward psychiatric drugs used.


The continuous use of psychotropic medication shapes the opinion of the users toward a more beneficial perception of medications, but the opinion on the general population, where stigmatizing attitudes are born, is more negative toward them. For psychiatrists and their patients, trying to achieve a better understanding of each other's expectations and reaching concordance is mandatory.

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