We examined the relationship between preferred English, Spanish, or an Asian language for mental health services and adherence to treatment with antipsychotic medication and Medi-Cal beneficiaries with schizophrenia in San Diego, California.
Data included 31,560 person-years from 1999–2004. Pharmacy records were analyzed to assess adherence to antipsychotic medication, based on the medication possession ratio (MPR). Clients were defined as nonadherent (MPR<0.5), partially adherent (0.5<=MPR<0.8), adherent (0.8<=MPR<=1.1), or as an excess filler (MPR>1.1). Regression models were used to examine adherence, hospitalization, and costs by race/ethnicity and language status.
Limited English proficient Latinos were more likely to be adherent to antipsychotic medications than English proficient Latinos (40.8% vs. 35.9%, P<0.001). Limited English proficient Latinos were less likely to be excess fillers than English proficient Latinos (15.1% vs. 20.4%, P<0.001). Limited English proficient Asians were less likely to be adherent than English proficient Asians (40.1% vs. 45.1%, P=0.034). Compared to English proficient Asians, limited English proficient Asians were more likely to be nonadherent (28.7% vs. 22.0%, P<0.001) and less likely to be excess fillers (12.5% vs. 17.4%, P=0.004). Controlling for adherence and comorbidities, limited English proficient clients had lower rates of hospitalization and health care costs than English proficient and white clients.
Adherence to antipsychotic medications varies among and within ethnic groups by English proficiency. Policies supporting the training of bilingual and multicultural ethnic minority providers, and interventions that capitalize on existing social support networks, may improve adherence to treatment among linguistically diverse populations.