Poor patient adherence to medication is one of the major factors contributing to poor disease control, in particular in asymptomatic chronic diseases like hypertension and dyslipidaemia. The physical and economic burden on patients and the health care system as a result of non-adherence is great. It is estimated that poor adherence to hypertension medication accounts for as many as 7.1 million preventable deaths annually. Hence recognising and identifying non-adherence is the first step to addressing this problem. Medication adherence can be measured in various ways including self-report to electronic monitoring. In order to be more successful in managing non-adherence, attention must be paid to barriers to adherence, namely the interplay of patient factors, the health care providers themselves and the health care system itself. Taking these into account will probably have the greatest impact on improving medication adherence. Consequently strategies to help overcome these barriers are of paramount importance. Some of these strategies will include education of patients, improving communication between patients and health care providers, improving dose scheduling, providing drugs with less adverse effects, and improving accessibility to health care. Poor mediation adherence continues to be a huge challenge. While the patient is ultimately responsible for the taking of medication, good communication, involving the patient in decision making about their care and simplifying drug regimens go a long way in improving it.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.