6 Reasons Bipolar Patients Don’t Take Their Meds

By Cara Murez
HealthDay reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Not taking prescribed medications can lead to relapse, hospitalization and an increased risk of suicide for people with bipolar disorder, but many people with the condition do not take their medications as they were prescribed for them.

A new study examines why this happens, finding six key factors that prevent people with bipolar disorder from taking their medications.

Reasons include unpleasant side effects, difficulty remembering to take medications, fear of addiction, and preference for alternative treatment.

A patient’s own beliefs and knowledge about the disorder also play a role, as does a lack of support from friends, family and healthcare professionals, according to British researchers.

“Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs, known as mania or hypomania, and depressions,” said lead researcher Asta Ratna Prajapati, researcher postgraduate degree at the University of East Anglia School of Pharmacy.

“We wanted to better understand what is preventing people from taking their medications,” Prajapati said in an academic press release.


The research team reviewed 57 studies, mostly surveys and interviews, involving nearly 33,000 patients and healthcare professionals. About 79% of the studies were conducted in the United States and Europe.

“We recommend that prescribers talk to patients about their thoughts and experiences with the medications they are taking, paying particular attention to those issues that may prevent patients from taking their medications,” Prajapati said.

Researchers are developing a tool to identify people who have trouble taking their medications and their individual reasons. They hope this will help prescribers and patients work together and provide personalized support.

More information

The US National Institute of Mental Health has more on bipolar disorder.

SOURCE: University of East Anglia, press release, May 19, 2021

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