AmeritoxSM, a national leader in medication monitoring solutions, today announced updated research reaffirming the problem of medication non-adherence among patients prescribed antipsychotic drugs to treat diagnosed Serious Mental Illness (SMI). The study reveals that nearly 25 percent of patient samples tested negative for the prescribed medication.
“Medication non-adherence among those with SMI can create significant hardship. These patients have increased risk for substance use disorders and negative clinical outcomes such as an increased number of hospital visits and longer stays,” said Ameritox Chief Executive Officer Scott Walton.
“While our latest research unfortunately confirms a continuing trend, it also reveals a new worry for clinicians – misuse and abuse of benzodiazepines and non-prescribed antipsychotic drugs among those with SMI,” said Ameritox Chief Medical Officer Thomas Smith, MD.
The study showed that 7.3 percent of samples that tested negative for the prescribed antipsychotic and 5.3 percent of samples that tested positive for the prescribed antipsychotic also contained the presence of a benzodiazepine, such as brand names Xanax®, Valium®, or Ativan®. A non-prescribed antipsychotic medication was found in 6.7 percent of samples.
“Given the documented harmful effects of drug interactions among benzodiazepines and antipsychotics, misusing or abusing these drugs at the same time can be life-threatening,” Smith said.
Ameritox conducted its first behavioral health population study in the fall of 2014, with 7,700 patient samples comprising its universe of data. The updated research is based on more than 62,000 samples.
The Ameritox Medical Affairs team this week presented this research in the form of a medical poster titled “Urine Drug Monitoring in Patients on Prescribed Antipsychotic Medications” to the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress, held in San Antonio, Texas. For more information on this conference, please visit: www.psychcongress.com.