Of the 187 million Americans who take at least one prescription medication to treat acute or chronic illnesses, about half—93.5 million individuals—don't take their medication as prescribed.
The reasons for non-adherence are complex and highly variable. They include poor patient-provider communication, cost and access barriers, inadequate knowledge about a drug and its use, concerns about side effects, complex regimens, and simply not being convinced of the need for treatment. Moreover, adherence for a single individual may vary over time because of changes in condition, symptoms, personal circumstances, and many other factors.
Given the prevalence of non-adherence, prescribers and other care team members must assume greater responsibility for understanding and discussing potential barriers to medication adherence in order to choose treatment regimens likely to be followed. Here are two strategies providers should adopt.