Benefits of continuing medication

Schizophrenia is a chronic condition that requires long-term treatment with antipsychotic medication.1,9

Just as with other long-term conditions such as diabetes, it is extremely important that the medication is taken as prescribed by the doctor.9 Antipsychotic drugs reduce the risk of relapses and hospitalizations in patients who have recovered from an acute episode of schizophrenia.23 If symptoms reappear with a low dose of medication, a temporary increase in dose may be necessary to prevent a full-blown relapse.1

The most important cause of relapse is not taking medication as prescribed (known as partial or non-adherence). Relapse rates are far higher when patients are non-adherent with their medication and because of this it is very important that people with schizophrenia make every effort to take their medication as prescribed.22 Patients should agree upon a treatment and relapse prevention plan that suits them together with their doctor and family.1,9 It is essential to establish support for the individual so that they can stick to the agreed treatment plan. This involves taking the prescribed medication or taking or receiving the injection at the correct dose and at the proper time (known as adherence to medication), attending clinic appointments, and carefully following other treatment procedures. Even short interruptions or not taking medication exactly as prescribed can increase the risk of relapse and rehospitalization.23  

Relapse Rates