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Blister Packaging Medication to Increase Treatment Adherence and Clinical Response: Impact on Suicide-related Morbidity and Mortality

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Annual rept. 29 Sep 2010-28 Aug 2011

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Medication overdoses account for substantial numbers of self-directed violence SDV in several segments of the U.S. population. The focus of this study is to see if recently discharged psychiatric inpatients from the Denver VA Medical Center will have better treatment adherence and better clinical outcomes as a result of having their medications placed into blister packs as opposed to standard pill bottle packaging. Previous research supports a range of benefits to blister packaging medications for at-risk patients. Non-adherence, defined as not having a prescription filled, not taking enough medication, taking too much medication, not observing the correct interval between doses, not observing the correct duration of treatment, and taking additional non-prescribed medication is a significant issue for those with psychiatric illness. Moreover, studies suggest that psychiatric symptoms interfere with adherence and partial adherence is associated with poorer psychiatric outcomes, including suicide. Specifically, those who are non-adherent are at 4-7 times greater risk of death. Blister packaging, a structured means of dispensing medications, is expected to increase adherence and decrease subsequent poor outcomes in the high-risk population of psychiatric inpatients. Furthermore, this relatively simple intervention can be accomplished in any treatment setting and does not require any specialized training on the part of those administering the program. The specific aims of this study are as follows 1 to examine if blister packaging medications significantly increases medication adherence, 2 to determine if blister packaging medications decreases self-poisoning behavior, 3 to determine if blister packaging medications decreases overall symptom distress, 4 to determine if blister packaging medications reduces additional negative medical and psychiatric outcomes, and 5 to determine whether blister packaging medications reduces health care utilization.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Pharmacology
  • Containers and Packaging

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