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Why Do They Stop Taking Their Medication

Since medication is so important to the person with schizophrenia why do they stop taking their medication? As mentioned before in group we discussed the reasons why people with schizophrenia stop taking their medication, this is what we came up with:
  • They are discouraged with the improvements in their symptoms
  • They are in denial that they have a mental illness
  • They think you don't need the medication because they feel better
  • The harsh side effects such as tardive dyskinesia or abnormal involuntary movements (usually in the hands, feet, tongue, or lips), akathisia or restlessness, muscle stiffness, tremors
  • They have simply run out of medication
  • They can't afford the medication

There is hope. As mentioned earlier by Wandering Coyote ( there is an injection that people with schizophrenia could take. Risperidone or Risperdal Consta long-acting injection if the person has trouble taking the oral form of medication. The injections are performed by a health care professional usually every two weeks. Common side effects include (

  • Constipation
  • Sleepiness
  • Weight gain
  • Tremors
  • Dry mouth
  • Rigid muscles
  • Feeling tired

Risperdal Consta long-acting injection is a great option for people with schizophrenia because it increases medicine compliance, which reduces hospitalization, and manages symptoms easier without having to worry about remembering to take the pill form of medication under daily basis.


Thanks for the mention.

The side effects of risperidone you list here are ones I experienced when I was on a higher dose. I take .25mg now and I have way fewer side effects than I did on 2mg, which made me feel like a total zombie.
Alex SIcre said…
Medication non-adherence affects 1 in 2 patient's taking medications, and the rates are usually higher with schizophrenia. I think the resperdal shot is a fantastic way to improve medication adherence - as 84% of patients who are non-adherent cite simple forgetfulness as the reason. As you mention, harsh side effects, cost and not thinking you need your meds are also major factors why people stop their medication regime.

If you or your readers are having trouble remembering to take your prescriptions or ordering refills you should check out (I am the Director of Corp Dev).

We offer a free service that sends patient and caregiver created medical reminders via email, text and voice messaging. You simply register on our website and create the reminders you want (Daily Medications, Prescription Refills, Doctor's Appointments), then chose how and when you want them delivered.

Hope this helps you and your readers stay adherent to their meds.

HektikLyfe said…
So this is something you have to do for the rest of your life or does it (Schizophrenia) go away after years of treatment?
HektikLyfe said…
...and if you have to take those drugs for the rest of your life wouldn't you have to increase the dosage as time goes on?
immbas said…
I was on that shot for three years. You should read "Mad in America." Excellent book.
Valash said…
Wandering Coyote,
I am glad they reduced your dose of medication and you are no longer feeling as much of the side effects.

I did not know the percentage of people forgetting their medication was so high. A couple of times I thought I forgot to take my medication so I just took another pill just in case. Now I have a daily container for my medicatioin that works best for me. provides an AWESOME product that many people with schizophrenia should know about.

This a gray area because some people may not need treatment after many years (Surviving Schizophrenia A Family Manual). But for the majority of us we will need treatment for the rest of our lives. There is no cure for schizophrenia, it can be compared to diabetes in that we need medication to help us get by for our entire lives. And as time goes by usually the dose will decrease (Surviving Schizophrenia A Family Manual).

"Mad in America" has an interesting theory that I plan on looking into, people with schizophrenia in developed countries do worst than counterparts in poor countries.
Anonymous said…
I want to know why antipsychotics make people tired? since drug companies that know this why don't they form a type of med without this adverse effect!

I cannot stand to take the meds they leave me tired and it is harder to remember things when I take the meds, its like I get memory blocks and that in itself is really aggrivating! I have been off of meds over a year and every once in a great while I will take a Pill. Possibly one time a month for maintainence I just can't stand them, there are so many side effects!

They even cause our bones to go bad! they take 25 year away from our life more or less and if I can do well without them I will! My triglycerides and liver enzymes started showing up bad and I quit taking them after around 17 year of being on them. Now in my spine I have deteriorating bone disease it is sad that the drug companies do not make safer medications with less side effects

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