Six-month outcomes of customized adherence enhancement (CAE) therapy in bipolar disorder

Martha Sajatovic, Jennifer Levin, Curtis Tatsuoka, Weronika Micula-Gondek, Edna Fuentes-Casiano, Christopher S. Bialko, Kristin A. Cassidy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There are few psychosocial interventions specifically focused on improved treatment adherence in people with bipolar disorder (BD). Customized adherence enhancement (CAE) is a needs-based, manualized approach intended to improve medication adherence in individuals with BD. This was a six-month prospective trial of a CAE among 43 medication non-adherent individuals with BD who were receiving treatment in a community mental health clinic (CMHC). Methods: CAE was flexibly administered in modules applied as indicated by an initial adherence vulnerabilities screening. Screening identified reasons for non-adherence and modules were then administered using pre-set criteria. CAE effects were evaluated at six-week, three-month, and six-month follow-up. The six-month follow-up was our primary time point of interest. The primary outcome was change from baseline in adherence using the Tablets Routine Questionnaire (TRQ) and pill counts. Secondary outcomes included change from baseline in BD symptoms [Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS), and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS)]. Results: Subjects completed 86% of scheduled sessions, with only two individuals (5%) not participating in any sessions. The number of dropouts at six months was 12 (28%). Mean baseline non-adherence by TRQ was 48% [standard error (SE) 4.8%] missed tablets within the previous week and 51% (4.1%) missed tablets within the previous month. At six-month follow-up, mean TRQ non-adherence improved to 25% (6.8%) missed tablets for the previous week (p = 0.002) and 21% (5.5%) for the previous month (p < 0.001). Symptoms improved, with a change in the baseline mean (SE) BPRS of 43.6 (1.8) versus an endpoint of 36.1 (2.3) (p = 0.001), and baseline mean (SE) HAM-D of 17.8 (1.1) versus an endpoint of 15.3 (1.6) (p = 0.044). Conclusion: CAE was associated with improvements in adherence, symptoms, and functional status. Controlled trials are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-300
Number of pages10
JournalBipolar Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherence
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Compliance
  • Mania
  • Mood stabilizers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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