Background: Oral antipsychotic medications (OAMs) are frequently prescribed to patients with bipolar I disorder (BD-1) for symptom control. A cross-sectional survey examined side effects experienced with OAM and the perceived impacts of these side effects among patients living with BD-1.
Methods: Adults with self-reported BD-1 (N=200) who received OAM during the prior year completed a survey on OAM-related experiences, including side effects, side effect burden, and adherence. Analyses were descriptive.
Results: The sample had a mean age of 43.2 (SD=12.4) years, was 60% female, and 31% nonwhite. Almost all participants (98%) had experienced OAM side effects. Common side effects were feeling drowsy (83%), lack of emotion (79%), anxiety (79%), dry mouth (76%), and weight gain (76%). Weight gain was cited as the most bothersome side effect: 68% of participants rated weight gain as “very” or “extremely bothersome.” Approximately half of participants (49%) said OAM side effects negatively impacted job performance; 92% said side effects (most commonly anxiety and lack of emotion) negatively impacted relationships with others, including family and romantic partners. Almost half (44%) of participants had discontinued OAM without agreement of a healthcare professional; the most common reason for discontinuation was side effects (54%). Side effects most likely to lead to OAM dose reduction/discontinuation included feeling like a “zombie” (29%), feeling drowsy (25%), and weight gain (24%).
Conclusions: Side effects of OAM were common, bothersome, and impacted social functioning, employment performance, and adherence. Findings highlight the need for new OAMs that reduce bothersome side effects.
This poster was presented at the 32nd annual Psych Congress, held Oct. 3-6, 2019, in San Diego, California.