Overview of Partial Compliance
J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64(suppl 16):3-9
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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A substantial proportion of patients with psychiatric and nonpsychiatric chronic illnesses fail to
take their medications as prescribed. A number of studies suggest that 50% or more of individuals
with schizophrenia are noncompliant with medications at some time during their illness. In most
cases, patients are partially compliant, taking only a portion of their prescribed medications. Noncompliance
is probably the most important element contributing to relapse in schizophrenia. Factors contributing
to the rate of noncompliance include medication side effects, the severity of psychotic symptoms,
impaired cognition, and an inadequate understanding of the role of medication for preventing
relapse. In addition, both patients and clinicians overestimate patients’ compliance. Strategies for
managing partial compliance include the treatment of medication side effects, the education of patients
about their illness, and the use of long-acting antipsychotic formulations.