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The Meds-Help pharmacy-based intervention increases antipsychotic drug adherence, but not symptoms

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Can the Meds-Help pharmacy-based intervention increase antipsychotic drug adherence in patients with serious mental illness (SMI)?


118 patients who had been prescribed antipsychotic medications and with two or more outpatient mental health visits in the 12 months prior to the study. Participants were also required to have: (1) a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective or bipolar disorder; (2) a treatment plan that included long-term antipsychotic treatment; (3) antipsychotic medication possession ratios (MPRs) of less than 0.8 in the prior 12 months; and (4) no clinical contraindications to participation.


Four Department of Veterans Affair (VA) facilities, USA; November 2002 and September 2005.


The pharmacy-based intervention Meds-Help plus usual care or usual care alone. Meds-Help consisted of four components: (1) convenient ‘unit-of-use’ medicine packaging which included all patients' medications to be taken at specific times of the day each day of the week in individual labelled compartments; (2) a medication and packaging education session conducted by a pharmacist; (3) refill reminders mailed 2 weeks before scheduled refill dates; and (4) notification of clinicians when patients failed to fill antipsychotic prescriptions within 7 to 10 days of a fill date. The intervention was in addition to the usual …

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  • Sources of funding Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development (IIR 01-174-01).


  • Competing interests None.

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