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Attitudes Toward Antipsychotics Among Outpatient Clinic Attendees With Schizophrenia

Alex Hofer, M.D.; Georg Kemmler, Ph.D.; Ursula Eder, M.D.; Michaela Honeder, M.D.; Martina Hummer, M.D.; and W. Wolfgang Fleischhacker, M.D.

Background: A cross-sectional study was conducted in patients with schizophrenia who regularly attended an outpatient clinic to examine the impact of psychopathology, side effects, and sociodemographic factors on attitudes toward antipsychotics.

Method: Sixty patients with a schizophrenic disorder according to ICD-10 criteria who had a duration of illness over 1 year and whose discharge from an inpatient unit had been at least 6 weeks earlier were investigated. Apart from the registration of demographic data, various rating scales were used: the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, the St. Hans Rating Scale for Extrapyramidal Syndromes, the Udvalg for Kliniske Undersogelser (UKU) Side Effect Rating Scale, and the Drug Attitude Inventory (DAI).

Results: Generally, the aspects describing a positive attitude toward antipsychotics on the DAI received a higher degree of assent than those characterizing a negative drug attitude. However, employment status correlated with a poorer global medication attitude on the DAI, and positive symptoms and sedation correlated with greater negative feelings on the DAI subjective negative feelings subscale.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that special attention should be paid to patients who experience positive symptoms or sedation and to those with relative absence of symptoms, who are therefore tempted to stop taking medication.

(J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63:49-53)

Received Nov. 13, 2000; accepted July 31, 2001. From the Department of Biological Psychiatry, University Clinics Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

In the spirit of full disclosure and in compliance with all ACCME Essential Areas and Policies, the faculty for this CME activity were asked to complete a full disclosure statement. The information received is as follows: Drs. Hofer, Kemmler, Eder, Honeder, Hummer, and Fleischhacker have no significant commercial relationships to disclose relative to the presentation.

Reprint requests to: Alex Hofer, M.D., Department of Biological Psychiatry, University of Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, Innsbruck, A-6020 Austria.