SAN DIEGO—Just half of survey respondents who took oral antipsychotics for schizophrenia thought the medication did more good than harm, according to research presented during poster sessions at Psych Congress 2019.
“People with schizophrenia experience extensive oral antipsychotic medication side effects, which impact social functioning and treatment adherence,” the poster stated. “Results highlight an unmet need for pharmacologic approaches that reduce bothersome side effects.”
Study findings stemmed from an online survey of 200 adults with self-reported schizophrenia who took oral antipsychotics during the previous year.
Some 51% of participants said their oral antipsychotic medication offered more benefit than harm, researchers reported. A full 98% reported side effects (88% experienced anxiety, 86% felt tired or drowsy, and 85% had trouble concentrating), and more than 80% said side effects impaired social functioning at work and with family.
“Side effects frequently cited as ‘extremely bothersome’ were sexual dysfunction (33%), weight gain (29%), and feeling drowsy/tired (22%),” the poster reported.
Among respondents, 56% said they ceased oral antipsychotics at some point; 65% did so because of side effects. The side effects that most often led to oral antipsychotic discontinuation were “feeling like a zombie” (22%), feeling tired or drowsy (21%), and gaining weight (20%).
Alkermes Inc. funded the study.
Bessonova L, Doane M, Sajatovic M, et al. Treatment experiences of individuals with schizophrenia: findings from an online survey. Poster presented at Psych Congress 2019; October 3-6, 2019; San Diego, CA. Poster 2108.