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04-01-2010 | Mental health | Article

Bipolar medication adherence affected by beliefs


Free abstract

MedWire News: The treatment and illness beliefs of patients with bipolar disorder predict medication adherence and may represent a potential target for modification, say UK researchers.

Adherence to medication is a crucial factor in the treatment of bipolar affective disorder, with non-adherence found to range from 20% to 60%. This leads to a range of negative outcomes, including hospitalization, functional impairment, and suicide.

Noting that the impact of beliefs on treatment and illness is not yet fully understood in bipolar disorder, R Hou and colleagues from the University of Southampton studied 35 bipolar disorder patients, administering the Beliefs About Medicines Questionnaire, the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ-r), and the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale.

In all, 54.3% of patients were classified as probably non-adherent and 45.7% as probably adherent, the team reports in the journal European Psychiatry. Patients who were non-adherent were significantly younger than adherent patients, at 40.60 years versus 52.80 years, and were prescribed significantly more psychiatric medications , at a median of 3.00 versus 2.00, respectively.

Results from the IPQ-r revealed that non-adherent patients were significantly more likely to believe that their illness would have negative effects on their life, and would have a longer-term impact, than adherent patients.

Univariate analysis revealed that age and beliefs about whether medications are overprescribed were significant predictors of non-adherence to medication, at odds ratios of 1.216 and 0.681, respectively.

“This preliminary study suggests that age and treatment beliefs are significant predictors of non-adherence to medication,” the researchers write.

“This evidence can be used to develop new targets for intervention strategies to foster treatment adherence and improve clinical outcomes.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Liam Davenport

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