Medication Compliance Among Patients With Bipolar Disorder and Substance Use Disorder

Roger D. Weiss, Shelly F. Greenfield, Lisa M. Najavits, Jose A. Soto, Dana Wyner, Mauricio Tohen, and Margaret L. Griffin

Published: April 15, 1998

Article Abstract

Background: This study examined patterns ofmedication compliance and reasons for noncompliance amongpatients with bipolar disorder and substance use disorder.

Method: Forty-four patients with current bipolardisorder and substance use disorder were administered astructured interview regarding lifetime compliance withprescribed psychotropic medications.

Results: Patients who were prescribed bothlithium and valproate were significantly (p=.03) more likely toreport full compliance with valproate than with lithium. Sideeffects were the most common reason for lithium noncompliance,but were not cited as a reason for valproate noncompliance. Also,a common pattern of noncompliance among patients prescribedbenzodiazepines, neuroleptics, and tricyclic antidepressants wasthe use of more medication than prescribed.

Conclusion: Valproate may have greateracceptability than lithium among patients with bipolar disorderand substance use disorder. Clinicians should also be aware thatthese patients may take higher doses of medication thanprescribed.

Volume: 59

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