RPS advice: Medicines adherence
A. Non-adherence may be complex and can be the result of a number of factors and issues. In order to address non-adherence it is important to ascertain and understand why patients may not be taking their medicines as prescribed. Patients often make decisions about their medication based on what they understand about their condition and on information they have learnt about the treatments available. To get a better gauge of patients’ general understanding of their condition and their willingness to follow the treatment suggested, it can be useful to ask them what they know and believe about medicines and their need for a medicine.
Discuss with them possible reasons why they are not taking their prescribed medicines: perhaps it conflicts with their beliefs or their reluctance to take charge of their medication regimen is compounded by ill-informed concerns, or it could be due to practical problems, for example, poor memory.
Once you have identified the reasons why patients are not taking prescribed medicines, consider how you may help them overcome any barriers and ensure that you involve them in any decisions. Address any specific concerns bearing in mind that they may wish to minimise their medicines use. Some patients may just need more support to help them use their medicines more effectively, and this may mean providing further information or making changes to their existing regimen. Interventions, such as use of alternative packaging or a compliance aid, can also help to overcome practical problems if there is a specific need.
Patients’ experience of using their medicines and their need for adherence support may change over time and it may be necessary to review adherence regularly, addressing any concerns as they arise.
To find out more about how you can support patients to get involved in decision-making around medicines and improve adherence see our “Medicines adherence” quick reference guide at Support resources A–Z (www.rpharms.com/support-resources/support-resources-a-z.asp).
Members with enquiries about this resource or any other support tool can contact the RPS Support team (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2013.11118222
Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press