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Recruitment to a trial of antipsychotic reduction: impact of an acceptability study

Ramsay, G., Haime, Z., Crellin, N. E. , Stansfeld, J. L., Priebe, S., Long, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-6920-9676 & Moncrieff, J. (2023). Recruitment to a trial of antipsychotic reduction: impact of an acceptability study. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 23(1), article number 78. doi: 10.1186/s12874-023-01881-0


Pre-trial acceptability studies may boost recruitment, especially in trials comparing distinctly different interventions. We evaluated the impact of an acceptability study on recruitment to a randomised trial of antipsychotic reduction versus maintenance treatment and explored demographic and clinical predictors of subsequent enrolment.

Participants with a diagnosis of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder who were taking antipsychotic medication were interviewed about their views of taking part in a future trial.

In a sample of 210 participants, 151 (71.9%) expressed an interest in taking part in the future trial, 16 (7.6%) said they might be interested, and 43 (20.5%) said they were not. Altruistic reasons were most commonly given for wanting to take part, and concern about randomisation for not wanting to. Ultimately 57 people enrolled in the trial (27.1% of the original sample). Eighty-five people who initially expressed an interest did not enrol due to declining or not being eligible (for clinical reasons). Women and people from a white ethnic background were more likely to enrol in the trial, but no illness or treatment-related characteristics were associated with enrolment.

An acceptability study can be a useful tool for recruitment to challenging trials, but it may over-estimate recruitment.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Randomised controlled trials, RCT, Recruitment, Acceptability study, Schizophrenia, Psychotic disorders
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
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