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Background: Long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotics are efficacious in managing psychotic symptoms in people affected by severe mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The present study aimed to investigate whether attitude toward treatment and treatment adherence represent predictors of symptoms changes over time. Methods: The STAR Network “Depot Study” was a naturalistic, multicenter, observational, prospective study that enrolled people initiating a LAI without restrictions on diagnosis, clinical severity or setting. Participants from 32 Italian centers were assessed at three time points: baseline, 6-month, and 12-month follow-up. Psychopathological symptoms, attitude toward medication and treatment adherence were measured using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Drug Attitude Inventory (DAI-10) and the Kemp's 7-point scale, respectively. Linear mixed-effects models were used to evaluate whether attitude toward medication and treatment adherence independently predicted symptoms changes over time. Analyses were conducted on the overall sample and then stratified according to the baseline severity (BPRS < 41 or BPRS ≥ 41). Results: We included 461 participants of which 276 were males. The majority of participants had received a primary diagnosis of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder (71.80%) and initiated a treatment with a second-generation LAI (69.63%). BPRS, DAI-10, and Kemp's scale scores improved over time. Six linear regressions—conducted considering the outcome and predictors at baseline, 6-month, and 12-month follow-up independently—showed that both DAI-10 and Kemp's scale negatively associated with BPRS scores at the three considered time points. Linear mixed-effects models conducted on the overall sample did not show any significant association between attitude toward medication or treatment adherence and changes in psychiatric symptoms over time. However, after stratification according to baseline severity, we found that both DAI-10 and Kemp's scale negatively predicted changes in BPRS scores at 12-month follow-up regardless of baseline severity. The association at 6-month follow-up was confirmed only in the group with moderate or severe symptoms at baseline. Conclusion: Our findings corroborate the importance of improving the quality of relationship between clinicians and patients. Shared decision making and thorough discussions about benefits and side effects may improve the outcome in patients with severe mental disorders.

Original publication




Journal article


Frontiers in Psychiatry

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