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High relapse rate and poor medication adherence in the Chinese population with schizophrenia: results from an observational survey in the People’s Republic of China

Authors Xiao J, Mi W, Li L, Shi Y, Zhang H

Received 7 August 2014

Accepted for publication 26 January 2015

Published 8 May 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 1161—1167

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S72367

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Jingbo Xiao, Weifeng Mi, Lingzhi Li, Ying Shi, Hongyan Zhang

Department of Psychiatry, Peking University Sixth Hospital, Peking University Institute of Mental Health, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Ministry of Health, Peking University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

Background: Relapse is common in schizophrenia, and seriously impacts patients’ quality of life and social functioning. Many factors have been identified that may potentially increase the risk of relapse. This study was designed to investigate the relapse rate in the year following hospital discharge among Chinese patients with schizophrenia in the naturalistic condition, and to explore possible risk factors related to relapse.
Methods: We conducted a large, multicenter, retrospective, observational study in ten psychiatric hospitals throughout the People’s Republic of China. Nine hundred and ninety-two schizophrenic outpatients aged 18–65 years discharged from these hospitals between September 2011 and February 2012 with recovery/improvement of their condition were included in the study. Information about relapse and correlative factors during the year after discharge was collected by telephone interview using a questionnaire.
Results: Eight hundred and seventy-six of 992 eligible patients completed the telephone survey. Of these patients, 293 (33.4%) had at least one relapse within 1 year after discharge, and 165 (18.8%) were rehospitalized. In respondents’ view, the most important factor contributing to relapse was poor medication adherence (50.7%). Approximately 30% of the respondents had a negative attitude toward medication, with the impression that there was no need to take drugs at all or for a long time. Nonadherent patients (37.9%) had a relapse rate that was 2.5-fold higher than adherent patients (54.5% versus 20.7%, P<0.001). The top five risk factors associated with relapse were nonadherence to medication (odds ratio [OR] 4.602, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.410–6.211), being without work (OR 3.275, 95% CI 2.291–4.681), poor self-care ability (OR 2.996, 95% CI 2.129–4.214), poor interpersonal skills (OR 2.635, 95% CI 1.951–3.558), and hospitalization on more than three occasions (OR 2.299, 95% CI 1.691–3.126).
Conclusion: The 1-year relapse rate after discharge in patients with schizophrenia was 33.5% in our study. The most important risk factor related to relapse was poor medication adherence, which was mainly due to patients having a negative attitude toward their medication. Lack of psychosocial support and a complicated disease history also increased the risk of relapse.

Keywords: schizophrenia, relapse, medication adherence

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