Thursday, March 19, 2015

Patients Say Improvement in Positive Symptoms Most Important Benefit of Antipsychotics

Individuals who self-identified as having schizophrenia judged improvement in their positive symptoms as the most important treatment benefit associated with antipsychotic medications, while hyperglycemia was identified as the most important adverse event.

Those were among the findings of a survey of patients with schizophrenia published online in Psychiatric Services in a report titled “Patients’ Preferences Related to Benefits, Risks, and Formulations of Schizophrenia Treatment.”

Researchers from multiple institutions used a “discrete choice experiment” (DCE) to survey a sample of 300 patients who were aged 18 or older and who had a self-reported physician diagnosis of schizophrenia. DCE studies quantify respondent preferences via a series of choice tasks requiring respondents to indicate which of several hypothetical treatment alternatives they prefer.

The patients were recruited through Kantar Health’s online patient panel in May 2012. (Kantar is a health care research consulting firm.) In total, 811 respondents received e-mail invitations to participate in the online survey. Respondents received “points” equivalent to 5 to 10 euros ($6 to $13 U.S.) that could be redeemed for merchandise or services or donated to charity.

Complete improvement in positive symptoms was the most preferred outcome, followed by elimination of hyperglycemia, improvement in negative symptoms, reduced weight gain, avoidance of hyperprolactinemia, improved social functioning, and avoidance of EPS. Patients judged a daily pill superior to monthly injections, and monthly injections superior to injections every three months for adherent patients and monthly injections superior to a daily pill for nonadherent patients.

“Studies of this type can help in understanding the importance people place on the benefits and risks of antipsychotics and how formulation affects those trade-offs, providing insight for both regulatory approval and shared decision making between patients and physicians,” the researchers said.

For more on issues of patient adherence to antipsychotic medications, see the Psychiatric News article “Better Antipsychotic Adherence Could Save Governments Millions.”

(Image:Ocskay Bence/


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