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Patient Compliance

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The best medical advice or treatment regimen is only as good as a patient's willingness and ability to follow it, and there's a wide gap between what doctors recommend and what patients actually do. Studies over the past three decades have shown that noncompliance can range from 20% to a staggering 80%, depending on the kind of treatment. On average, patients follow doctors' advice to the letter only about half of the time. And when a treatment regimen is complicated or difficult-lifestyle changes to control hypertension or diabetes, for instance-compliance is even lower. Only about one in four people with hypertension manages to control his or her blood pressure adequately. Even when it comes to something as simple as taking a single medication, one-third of patients may end up not following the dosing directions. Failure to follow even simple medical advice can also put patients at significant risk. The patient who decides that an antihypertensive drug is just not worth the trouble after three months of taking it clearly increases his risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke There are, of course, many reasons why patients fail to follow medical advice One is that they simply don't understand it. ...read more.


There is no simple solution to the stubborn problem of poor compliance, but there are a few steps you can take to encourage your patients to follow your recommendations. Most of these strategies require taking a little extra time with your patients, 1. Convince your patients that the treatment plan is necessary and efficacious. If patients don't believe the treatment you propose is necessary and likely to work, they have little incentive to follow through. Warning a patient about the potential dangers of not adhering to treatment is important 2. Explain exactly what your patients should expect. A drug's potential side effects. Yet one of the main reasons people skip or stop taking medications, studies show, is because they are worried about unexpected side effects. To improve compliance, experts say, be sure to cover five key issues when prescribing medication: * What the drug does * How it should be taken * What the major side effects are * What patients should do if they experience side effects * How the drug's effect will be monitored 3. ...read more.


Ask patients to contact you if they encounter trouble or if they begin to have second thoughts about what you've prescribed 10. Ask your patients how they are doing. Always ask patients how they're doing when it comes to taking medications or following other recommendations For lifestyle changes, such as dietary alterations or increased physical activity, make it clear that most people have to work hard to change personal habits. Ask patients to talk about why they're having trouble. Helping patients follow medical advice as closely as possible depends on a close and trusting physician-patient relationship. The graph below shows the leading reasons. It also suggests a blueprint for addressing the specific obstacles that patients report when asked to follow a complicated treatment regimen. Reasons for missing doses of antiretroviral drugs http://www.hippocrates.com/FebruaryMarch2001/02features/02feat_compliance.html Compliance means taking the correct amount of the prescribed medicine at the proper time. Remembering to take your medicine is the key to compliance. Medicine will be effectively only when taken as prescribed. "Drugs don't work in patient's who don't take them" (Everett Koop) "The real Drug Problem: Forgetting to take them" (Amy Dockser") Good patient compliance and adherence means taking the right drugs, on time and in the proper doses. ...read more.

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