Text message reminders could help patients with bipolar I disorder (BD-I) stick with a medication regimen, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

In an open-label, rater-blinded, randomized controlled trial, researchers studied clinically stable outpatients (N=132) aged 18 to 65 years who had been diagnosed with BD-I. Criteria for inclusion included individuals who had been on a medication plan for 1 year or longer and who were able to receive and read text messages.

Researchers divided recruited individuals with BD-I randomly into either the intervention group (n=62) or the treatment-as-usual group (n=70). The intervention group received friendly text message reminders twice per week in addition to treatment for the first 3 months and treatment alone during the following 3 months. Individuals in the treatment-as-usual group received only treatment during the study.

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Those in the intervention group showed considerable improvement in medication adherence at the end of the 3-month text messaging phase in both intention to treat (F=19.07, df =1, 130, P <.001) and completer (F=16.50, df=1, 110, P <.001) analyses. At 3-month follow-up, the intervention group continued better adherence compared with the treatment-as-usual group in both intention to treat (F=16.98, df=1, 130, P <.001) and completer (F=13.15, df=1, 98, P <.001) analyses.

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Researchers conclude that “a 3-month text message reminder intervention improved medication adherence in bipolar 1 patients and that the benefits were maintained for at least 3 months following the discontinuation of the intervention.” They also stress the cost-effectiveness of text message reminders in prompting individuals with BD-I to adhere to medication treatments.


Menon V, Selvakumar N, Kattimani S, Andrade C. Therapeutic effects of mobile-based text message reminders for medication adherence in bipolar I disorder: Are they maintained after intervention cessation? J Psychiatr Res. 2018; 104:163-168. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.07.013