Protocol - Antipsychotic Medication Adherence

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Brief Adherence Rating Scale (BARS)


Publicly available


The Brief Adherence Rating Scale (BARS) is a 4-item, clinician-administered rating scale that captures a patient’s intake of the antipsychotic medications.


Brief Adherence Rating Scale (BARS)

Patient identification: ___________

Date: ___________

The following information is obtained by the clinician:

1. How many pills of _________________ (name of antipsychotic) did the doctor tell you to take each day?

2. Over the month since last visit with me, on how many days did you NOT TAKE your _________________ (name of antipsychotic)?

        Few, if any (<7) _____

        7-13 _____

        14-20 _____

        Most (<20) _____

3. Over the month since your last visit with me, how many days did you TAKE LESS THAN the prescribed number of pills of your _________________ (name of antipsychotic)?

        Always/almost always = 1 _____ (76%-100% of the time)

        Usually = 2 _____(51%-75% of the time)

        Sometimes = 3 _____(26%-50% of the time)

        Never/almost never = 4 _____(0%-25% of the time)


1 = poor adherence
4 = good adherence

Please place a single vertical line on the dotted line below that you believe best describes, out of the prescribed antipsychotic medication (_________________________) doses, the proportion of doses taken by the patient in the past month.


Response struck on above line (%) = _________________________

Rater’s initials: _________________________

Personnel and Training Required

The interviewer should be trained in the administration of the Brief Adherence Rating Scale (BARS). The interviewer must be trained and found to be competent (i.e., tested by an expert). The interviewer should be trained to prompt respondents further if a "don’t know" response is provided.

Equipment Needs



Requirement CategoryRequired
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individualNo
Major equipmentNo
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collectionNo
Specialized trainingNo

Mode of Administration


Life Stage:


Specific Instructions:


Research Domain Information

Release Date:

January 17, 2017


A questionnaire to assess the patient’s intake of the antipsychotic medication.


This measure assesses antipsychotic medication taking behaviors and provides estimates of actual levels of adherence. Poor adherence is a common problem in psychosis and schizophrenia and is associated with worse outcomes.

Selection Rationale

The Brief Adherence Rating Scale (BARS) is a brief, reliable, and valid clinician- administered adherence tool that determines the proportions of antipsychotic medication doses taken in the past month.




Common Data Elements (CDE)Mental Health Antipsychotic Medication Adherence rating scale Assessment Scale5628278CDE Browser

Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel has not reviewed this measure yet.


Byerly, M. J., Nakonezny, P. A., & Rush, A. J. (2008). The Brief Adherence Rating Scale (BARS) validated against electronic monitoring in assessing the antipsychotic medication adherence of outpatients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Schizophrenia Research, 100, 60-69.

General References

Acosta, F. J., Hernández, J. L., Pereira, J., Herrera, J., & Rodríguez, C. J. (2012). Medication adherence in schizophrenia. World Journal of Psychiatry, 2(5), 74-82.

Stroup, T. S., & Dixon, L. B. (2013). The enduring challenge of antipsychotic non- adherence. World Psychiatry, 12(3), 236-237.

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