ANNOUNCER: Strategies to encourage adherence to a drug regimen include: simplifying the regimen, the creative use of calendars, maintaining regular routines and what experts call "psycho-education."
JOHN KANE, MD: Patients and their families need to understand the nature of the illness and what the medication is for, what the medication can do, what the medication can't do, what the side effects might be, how it should be taken and so forth. Unless someone really understands the benefits of taking medication, they're going to have a difficult time doing it.
ROBERT CONLEY, MD: A strategy that just about anyone can use is to simplify a medication regime; that's very, very important. And to really work with the treating clinician to do that, to make the fewest number of doses you have to take per day, to try to link them with daily activities that are easily remembered like meals or going to bed, to often use very simple reminder things like pillboxes; they can work very well.
ANNOUNCER: Simplifying drug regimens can also mean using long-acting drugs.
JOHN KANE, MD: There are medications that can be given by injection every two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, depending upon the medicine and depending upon the patient.
ANNOUNCER: It can take a little time to find the medicine that works best. One benefit of using injections is that adherence to therapy is automatically monitored.
JOHN KANE, MD: If someone is on a long acting injectable medication and they miss their injection or their appointment, we know that immediately so that we are instantly aware that this person is now without medication and we can do something to intervene. We can call the family, we can do a home visit, we can do whatever is necessary.
ANNOUNCER: Schizophrenia is a serious illness, but most patients do well with therapy. The key to successful treatment is finding the best medication and staying the course.