Volume 74, No.3: 2022 Siriraj Medical Journal
Original Article
Jarurin Pitanupong, M.D.*, Apinan Karakate, M.D.*, Laddaporn Tepsuan, M.D.**, Grittin Sritrangnant, M.D.***
*Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla 90110, ailand, **Songkhla Hospital, Mueang
Songkhla District, Songkhla, 90110, ailand, ***Songkhla Rajanagarindra Psychiatric Hospital, Mueang Songkhla District, Songkhla, 90110, ailand.
Attitudes Toward Long-Acting Injectable
Antipsychotics among Schizophrenia Patients in
Southern Thailand: A Multihospital-Based Cross-
Sectional Survey
Objective: To identify the attitudes toward long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAIs) among schizophrenia at
three psychiatric outpatient clinics in Southern ailand from February to April 2021.
Materials and Methods: A study was conducted at three psychiatric outpatient clinics. All patients, who met the
criteria of having schizophrenia based on ICD-10 criteria, aged 20-60 years were included. e questionnaires
utilized were:1) Demographic information, 2) Prole of schizophrenia disorder, and 3) Attitude, knowledge, and
satisfaction towards LAIs. All data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: ere were 259 participants who completed the questionnaires. From the participants, 39% had a history
of being treated with LAIs. A quarter of them felt LAIs made them feel stigmatized (26.3%), that they lost autonomy
(24.7%), and embarrassed (16.6%). e reasons for refusing to receive LAIs were not fear of needles or pain at the
injection site (49%), but rather that LAIs had more adverse eects than oral medications (47.9%). Half of them
(51.8%) knew that they must continue to use LAIs, even though their symptoms had improved as LAIs played an
important role by improving their symptoms (68.8%), and preventing relapse (51.8%). ey were satised about
having been involved in the decision making of using LAIs for their treatment (63.6%), having information on the
risk-benets from LAIs provided to them (72.3%), and the cost of LAIs (75.2%).
Conclusion: Before deciding to prescribe LAIs, we should ensure that all patients receive information about the risks,
and benets of LAIs, boosting acceptance for this formulation and mitigating concerns about patient autonomy
reduction and stigmatization.
Keywords: Antipsychotics; attitude; knowledge; long-acting injectable; schizophrenia (Siriraj Med J 2022; 74: 193-201)
Corresponding author: Jarurin Pitanupong
E-mail: pjarurin@medicine.psu.ac.th
Received 2 October 2021 Revised 24 October 2021 Accepted 9 February 2022
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9312-9775
All material is licensed under terms of
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0)
license unless otherwise stated.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness aecting about
0.7% of adults globally.
It is a long-term chronic disease,
has residual symptoms and functional impairment.
erefore, using integrated treatment strategies; in terms
of medication, psychosocial interventions,
psychiatric rehabilitation, and decreasing stigmatization
for schizophrenia are essential to both lessen the burden
for family members and improve patients’ quality of life.
In the past, the core concept of schizophrenia
management was a combination of ensuring patients
gain insight, medical treatment, and the teaching of
Volume 74, No.3: 2022 Siriraj Medical Journal
essential community-living skills, so as to integrate
patients back into society.
Moreover, occupations and
employment can reduce stigma and promote quality of
Although, some schizophrenia patients gain insight
well, the truth of this illness makes them suer from
stigmatization. Because of this, patients usually deny or
refuse medication, which in turn makes them relapse.
In addition, the relapse rate aer the rst episode of
schizophrenia (FES) is high, oen due to non-adherence
with medication.
Presently, antipsychotic medications play an eective
role in schizophrenia symptom control and relapse
however, non-adherence to medication is still
a major problem in the treatment of schizophrenia,
is one of the most important predictors for relapse rates
of more than 80% within 5 years.
Although, treatment
response is better in FES than in multi-episode patients,
and within one-year response rates of about 87%, relapse
rates are still high;
therefore, long-acting injectable
antipsychotics (LAIs) have a role for promoting adherence
to medication
in schizophrenia patients who having
poor drug compliance.
However, in many countries,
fewer than 20% of schizophrenia patients receive LAIs.
The rate of LAIs usage among schizophrenia at the
psychiatry department of the Faculty of Medicine, Prince
of Songkla University, in 2018, was 12.7%.
e reason
for this low prescribing rate of LAIs may be the patient
attitudes and reluctance to accept depot treatment.
Despite good clinical evidence, depot treatment rates
are still low across countries,
and depot antipsychotics
are only seldom prescribed for patients with FES.
Currently, some systematic review studies have reported
that patients have generally positive attitudes toward LAIs
compared with oral medication.
Additionally, it is
generally considered that providing adequate information
to patients and having a therapeutic relationship with the
psychiatrist, which includes a shared decision-making
processes, can promote a positive image to depot injections.
Although, some previously reviewed literature found that
LAIs are associated with a better outcome, as a reduction
of re-hospitalization and better adherence, schizophrenia
patients are particularly fearful of being stripped of their
autonomy when treated with LAIs, and that the injections
may be painful. Moreover, the lack of adequate information
given to patients may be a reection of their negative
attitudes towards LAIs. Providing adequate information
on LAIs can help promote positive attitudes, especially
as LAIs don’t particularly increase the risk of side-eects
such movement disorder.
erefore, to enhance the use
of LAIs, psychiatrists could improve their practice, by
providing patients with more information regarding the
dierent forms of available treatment during the early
stages of this illness.
In addition, the availability of the
deltoid route of administration would oer increased
choices in LAIs administration, and may be perceived
as more respectful and less socially embarrassing.
aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of LAIs
usage, attitudes, and satisfaction toward LAIs among
schizophrenia outpatients, as this may provide useful,
basic knowledge for enhancing the use of LAIs.
Aer being approved by the Ethics Committee of the
Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University (REC:
63-521-3-4) and Rajanagarindra Psychiatric Hospital
(SKPH.IRB.COA 1/2021), this cross-sectional study
was conducted at the three listed psychiatric outpatient
clinics: Songklanagarind Hospital, which is an 800-bed
university hospital serving as a tertiary referral center in
Southern ailand, Songkla Hospital, which is a 508-bed
provincial hospital, and Songkhla Rajanagarindra Psychiatric
Hospital, which is a 200-bed psychiatric hospital serving as
a referral center in Southern ailand. All schizophrenia
outpatients, who had an appointment and were followed
up at three psychiatric outpatient clinics; from February
to April 2021, were invited to participate in the study. To
be included, they had to meet the criteria of being adult
schizophrenia outpatients by their psychiatrists and their
case les were selected in the medical register, based on
the following criteria: ICD-10 code F20.0-F20.9, aged
20-60 years, agreeing to participate in the study, able to
understand and use the ai language well and to complete
all of the questionnaires. Patients who had more than
one psychiatric diagnosis or comorbidity, did not wish
to participate or decided to withdraw from the study
and/or lacked mental capacity (judged by an outpatient
psychiatric nurse) to complete all of the questionnaires,
were excluded. We tried to calculate a sample size to
determine the minimum number of subjects to enroll
in our study. Following a literature review we could not
nd any information from studies about the prevalence of
patient attitudes in regards to long-acting antipsychotic
injections, in ailand. erefore, we simply identied
all patients with an appointment and we followed them
up during that period.
Data collection
All of the eligible schizophrenia outpatients were
approached by the research assistant for recruitment,
and were provided with an information sheet; which
delineated the rationale for the study and the allotted time
to complete the survey. All eligible participants had at
Pitanupong et al.
Volume 74, No.3: 2022 Siriraj Medical Journal
Original Article
least 20-30 minutes to consider whether to participate in
the study or not. Participants willing to collaborate were
invited to a private location to complete the questionnaire,
and were informed that they could stop at any time if
they felt distressed, uneasy or were unwilling to perform
any further. All participants were allowed to nish and
return the questionnaires immediately, or at a later time.
Participants could submit the questionnaires via two
options: by dropping them in a secure box at the front
of the clinic upon leaving, or by returning them later by
placing them in a secure box located at the Psychiatry
Department and/or Unit. erefore, protecting respondent
1) Personal and demographic information: inquiries
around areas related to age, gender, marital status, religion,
education, income, occupation, and history of physical
2) Prole of schizophrenia disorder: the number
of hospital admissions, duration of illness, and history
of injection experience.
3) Self-rating questionnaires to evaluate attitude,
knowledge, and satisfaction toward LAIs: 4 tools. e
Drug Attitude Inventory (DAI-30) containing 30 questions
concerning the aspects of the patient’s perceptions
and experiences of treatment.
e Satisfaction With
Antipsychotic Medication scale (SWAM scale) containing 33
questions evaluating the patient’s beliefs, patient’s concerns,
and other aspects of treatment; including social support
and information regarding the patients.
A questionnaire
from a study in Nigeria;
and a questionnaire from a
study in Croatia.
Our tool consisted of 15 questions,
in 3 domains: attitude, knowledge, and satisfaction.
e response to each question ranged from disagree;
neutral; agree, and strongly agree. is questionnaire’s
modication and content validity was reviewed by 5
psychiatrists; the content validity (CVI) score was 0.8.
A pilot study was conducted with 20 volunteers; thus,
Cronbach’s alpha was 0.8.
Statistical analysis
Descriptive statistics; such as frequency, percentage,
proportion, mean, and standard deviation (SD) were
calculated. Chi-square tests were used in regards to the
comparison of ‘knowledge’, ‘attitude of schizophrenia
patients who received LAIs’ and ‘no experience of receiving
LAIs’. e analyses were conducted using R version 3.4.1
(R Foundation for Statistical Computing). Statistical
signicance was dened as a p-value of less than 0.05.
Demographic characteristics
From February to April 2021, 262 schizophrenia
patients attended all three Psychiatric Clinics, and 259 of
them agreed to collaborate and complete the questionnaires.
e response rate was 98.9%. e majority of participants
were male (62.5%), Buddhist (74.9%), and unmarried
(82.2%). Overall, their mean age was 41.2 ± 10.9 years,
and their median income (IQR) was 9,000 (4,000-15,000)
baht, per month. Fiy-three participants (20.5%) reported
having history of physical illness (Table 1). e most
common physical illness were diabetes mellitus (32.7%),
hypertension (25%), and dyslipidemia (21.2%). No
statistically signicant dierence in demographic data
was detected between the participants, according to the
three hospitals.
Prole of schizophrenia disorder
For all the participants, their mean (S.D) duration
of illness was 139.8 (104.5) months. e majority of
participants (58.3%) reported having a history of inpatient
admission; with the mean (S.D) number of admissions
at 2.6 (2.4). No statistically signicant dierence in
the prole of schizophrenia was observed between the
participants, according to all three hospitals. 101 (39%)
participants had a history of being treated with LAIs
(Table 2), with the most common LAIs received being
conventional LAIs; there were only 5 (4.9%) participants
who had received novel LAIs.
However, a statistically signicant dierence in the
history of psychiatric inpatient admission was detected
between the participants who had received and those who
had no experience of receiving LAIs. Of all participants
who received LAIs, 75% of them had history of psychiatric
inpatient admission; whereas, 52.6% of participants who
had no experience of receiving LAIs had a history of
psychiatric inpatient admission (Table 3).
Knowledge and attitude toward long-acting injectable
In regards to knowledge and attitude toward LAIs,
the majority of participants knew that LAIs played an
important role and improved their symptoms (68.8%),
and that they must continue to use LAIs even though
their mental health was improved (51.8%). ey also
knew that LAIs prevented symptom relapse (51.8%).
However, 64 (24.7%) participants felt that LAIs made
them feel a loss of autonomy, and 68 (26.3%) participants
reported feeling stigmatized due to LAIs. Only 98 (37.8%)
participants felt that LAIs were more convenient than oral
Volume 74, No.3: 2022 Siriraj Medical Journal
TABLE 1. Demographic characteristics (N = 259).
TABLE 2. Prole of schizophrenia disorder (N = 259).
Demographic characteristics Number (%)
Male 162 (62.5)
Female 97 (37.5)
Buddhism 194 (74.9)
Islam/Christianity/Other 62 (23.9)
No answer 3 (1.2)
Marital Status
Single/Divorced 213 (82.2)
Married 39 (15.1)
No answer 7 (2.7)
Education level
Secondary school/below 99 (38.2)
High school/diploma 92 (35.5)
Bachelor’s degree or above 64 (24.7)
No answer 4 (1.5)
Employee/Agriculture 68 (26.3)
Government employees ofcer/state Enterprise ofcer/Private company employee 32 (12.4)
Merchant/Personal business 37 (14.3)
Unemployed/Student 118 (45.6)
No answer 4 (1.5)
Having income
No 127 (49.0)
Yes 127 (49.0)
No answer 5 (1.9)
Having physical illness
No 199 (76.8)
Yes 53 (20.5)
No answer 7 (2.7)
Schizophreniaprole Number(%)
Having history of inpatient admission
No 97 (37.5)
Yes 151 (58.3)
Not answer 11 (4.2)
Having history of being treated with injectable antipsychotic agents
No 89 (34.4)
Yes 170 (65.6)
Type of injectable antipsychotic agents
Short-acting injectable antipsychotics 69 (26.6)
Long-acting injectable antipsychotics 53 (20.5)
Both 48 (18.5)
Pitanupong et al.
Volume 74, No.3: 2022 Siriraj Medical Journal
Original Article
TABLE 3. e demographic characteristics comparison between a group of being treated with LAIs or not.
History of being treated with LAIs
Demographic characteristics Total Yes No
(n=259) (n=101) (n=158)
Gender 0.054
Male 162 (62.5) 71 (70.3) 91 (57.6)
Female 97 (37.5) 30 (29.7) 67 (42.4)
Education level 0.006
Secondary school/below 99 (38.8) 49 (50.0) 50 (31.8)
High school/diploma 92 (36.1) 33 (33.7) 59 (37.6)
Bachelor’s degree or above 64 (25.1) 16 (16.3) 48 (30.6)
Occupation 0.78
Employee/Agriculture 68 (26.7) 29 (29.6) 39 (24.8)
Government employees ofcer/ 32 (12.5) 12 (12.2) 20 (12.7)
state Enterprise ofcer/
Private company employee
Merchant/Personal business 37 (14.5) 12 (12.2) 25 (15.9)
Unemployed/ Student 118 (46.3) 45 (45.9) 73 (46.5)
Religion 0.024
Buddhism 194 (75.8) 67 (67.7) 127 (80.9)
Islam/Christianity/Other 62 (24.2) 32 (32.3) 30 (19.1)
Marital Status 0.095
Single/ Divorced 213 (84.5) 88 (89.8) 125 (81.2)
Married 39 (15.5) 10 (10.2) 29 (18.8)
Having income 0.302
No 127 (50.0) 53 (54.6) 74 (47.1)
Yes 127 (50.0) 44 (45.4) 83 (52.9)
Having physical illness 0.637
No 199 (79.0) 77 (81.1) 122 (77.7)
Yes 53 (21.0) 18 (18.9) 35 (22.3)
Having history of admission < 0.001
No 97 (39.1) 23 (25.0) 74 (47.4)
Yes 151 (60.9) 69 (75.0) 82 (52.6)
medications. However, more than half of the participants
(61.8%) felt that their families accepted LAIs treatments.
e reasons for refusing to receive LAIs did not appear
to be due to a fear of needles or pain at the injection site
(49%), but due to a belief that LAIs had more adverse
eects than oral medications (47.9%) (Fig 1).
From a comparison between 101 participants who
had experienced receiving LAIs and 158 participants
who had no experience in receiving LAIs, statistically
signicant dierences in knowledge, and attitude were
identied between these two groups. In regards to the
knowledge of LAIs, participants who had experience in
receiving LAIs had higher percentages of knowledge in
connection to LAIs improving their symptoms (79.6%)
and that they must continuously use them even though
their mental health had improved (65.3%) than the
participants who had no experience of receiving LAIs who
had percentages of knowledge at 63.5%, 40.8%, respectively.
Regarding attitude toward LAIs, the participants who
had an experience of receiving LAIs had less percentage