July 1974

Why Do Schizophrenic Patients Refuse to Take Their Drugs?

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
From the Brentwood VA Hospital and the UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;31(1):67-72. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760130049008

Patients with schizophrenia often do not take their prescribed phenothiazines. This survey focused on the drug-taking behavior of 85 mostly chronic schizophrenic patients during a two-year period.

Thirty-nine (46%) of these patients took less antipsychotic drug than the amount prescribed. The reluctance to take antipsychotic medication was significantly associated with extrapyramidal symptoms—most notably a subtle akathisia.

It is proposed that drug reluctance and dysphoric response to antipsychotic drugs are often extrapyramidally based.