Compliance (or adherence) means going along with a doctor’s decision about the amount and frequency with which someone should take a particular medication.
It is important for patients to inform their GP or specialist why they are not taking their medication, in order for the GP to understand and help to identify and improve patients’ adherence to their medications/treatment regime. It is important to inform your GP to prevent potential harm to yourself as without a true picture of your medication-taking behaviour the GP may needlessly escalate your treatment.
Most nonadherence is intentional with patients making a rational decision not to take your medicine based on your knowledge, experience and beliefs.
These are the top eight reasons for intentional nonadherence.
Frightened of potential side effects:
personal experience with the same or similar medicine.
may have witnessed side effects experienced by a friend or family member who was taking the same or similar medication.
A major barrier to adherence is often the cost of the medicine prescribed to the you. The high cost may lead to not filling your medications in the first place or even ration what you do fill in order to extend your supply.
Discussion with your GP regarding your financial situation could lead to the prescribing of an affordable medication to treat your illness.
Nonadherence can also happen when you do not understand the need for the medicine, the nature of side effects or the time it takes to see results. This is especially true for people with chronic illness—taking a medication every day to reduce the risk of something bad happening can be confusing.
Too many medications
If you believe you are taking too many medication, discuss with your GP. GP/specialist can try to simplify your dosing schedule by adjusting medicines so they can be taken at the same time of day. Choosing long-acting drugs can also help if the dosing burden is too complex, consolidate medicines by using combination products.
Lack of symptoms
You may find that you don’t feel any different when you start or stop your medicine and therefore see no reason to take it. Also, once your condition is controlled you may believe that the illness is resolved and that you can discontinue taking your medication. It is important for you to inform your GP of these thoughts in order to gain a better understanding for the reasons of taking your medication.
Marketing efforts by pharmaceutical companies influencing physician prescribing patterns. This ongoing mistrust can cause patients to be suspicious of their doctor’s motives for prescribing certain medications. Australian law several years ago put a stop to this pharmaceutical manipulation – there is no longer monetary incentives available to doctors’ to prescribe certain medications.
It is a concern for some people about becoming dependent on a medicine. Communication with your GP regarding why a particular medication was chosen, length of time to take is highly important to ease your worry. Inadequate communication can account for 55% of medication nonadherence, making it important to understand your concerns and to verbalise them.
Patients who are depressed are less likely to take their medications as prescribed. Physicians and other health professionals may be able to uncover this by sharing issues and asking if the patient can relate to it. To reduce embarrassment, express that many patients experience similar challenges.