(Nov. 6, 2012) New research shows that individuals with schizophrenia are significantly more likely to live longer if they take their antipsychotic drugs on schedule.
Avoiding extremely high doses of medication and regularly seeing a mental health professional were also linked to longer lives (“Study: Use of antipsychotic drugs improves life expectancy for individuals with schizophrenia,” Johns Hopkins Medicine, Nov. 1). Taking medication did not increase the risk of death.
The study by a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University examined how much how much medication patients with schizophrenia took, how regularly they took it and how often they visited a mental health professional Comparing data collected between 1994 and 2004 on 2,132 adults with schizophrenia, the researchers found that patients who complied with their medication schedules 90% of the time or more were 25% less likely to die than those who adhered 10% of the time.
"If people are taking their medications, they usually have fewer symptoms and are able to be more organized in other areas of their lives," said Dr. Bernadette Cullen, lead researcher for the study. "We believe they are then more likely to make appointments with their primary care doctors, to stay on top of other illnesses they may have and to regularly take diabetes, blood pressure or cholesterol medication that they may require to stay healthy. We also believe that they are more likely to be socially engaged and have a healthier lifestyle."