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Schizophrenia, Antipsychotics, and Adherence

There are a variety of reasons why people with schizophrenia do not adhere to their antipsychotic medication schedule. If they don't believe they are ill, they may not think they need any medication at all. If their thinking is too disorganized, they may not remember to take their medication every day. If they don't like the side effects of a medication, they may stop taking it without trying a different one. Substance abuse can also interfere with a treatment's effectiveness.
Your healthcare provider may ask you how often you take your medication and be sensitive to any requests to change dosages or to try new antipsychotic medications in order to eliminate unwelcome side effects.
Many strategies can be used to help people with schizophrenia take their medication regularly. Some antipsychotic medications are available in long-acting, injectable forms that eliminate the need to take a pill every day. Medication calendars or pill boxes labeled with the days of the week can both help people remember to take their medications and let caregivers know if the medication has been taken. Electronic timers on clocks or watches can be programmed to beep when people need to take their pills, and pairing medication with routine daily events, like meals, can help people adhere to dosing schedules.

Potential Drug Interactions With Antipsychotics

Antipsychotics can produce unpleasant or dangerous side effects when taken with certain other drugs. For this reason, you should tell your healthcare provider about all medications (both over-the-counter and prescription) and all vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements you take. Do not be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider about alcohol or street drugs, as these issues need to be addressed in order for treatment to be effective.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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