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Med Care. 1990 Dec;28(12):1181-97.

Medication compliance and health education among outpatients with chronic mental disorders.

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Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Perry Point, MD.

Erratum in

  • Med Care 1991 Sep;29(9):889.


Medication noncompliance occurs among as many as one-third to one-half of all medical and psychiatric outpatients. Noncompliance has serious consequences for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, often resulting in higher rates of relapse and rehospitalization, and poorer community adjustment. Health education interventions have been shown to be effective in promoting compliance among patients with chronic medical illness such as hypertension or diabetes, but there have been few randomized trials of this approach among patients with chronic psychiatric disorders. This paper presents the results of an application of health education among a group of male psychiatric outpatients. Two interventions were developed which used health education techniques to 1) engage families or significant others as active participants in the aftercare process, and 2) train patients to become effective health care consumers. A total of 418 individuals participated in a six-month trial over a four-year study. Both interventions significantly improved medication compliance among those who received them. The results show that comparatively brief interventions can significantly alter medication compliance behavior and improve the quality of life for patients with chronic psychiatric disorders.

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