Patient Compliance Medication Adherence: Statistics & References

Patient Compliance Medication Adherence: Statistics & References

Patient Compliance Medication Adherence Statistics & References

Compliance means taking the correct amount of the prescribed medicine at the proper time. References Clinical Studies

The Real Drug Problem: Forgetting to Take Them

WSJ - Amy Dockser Marcus Article

World Health Organization reports that only around 50% of people typically follow their doctors' orders when it comes to taking prescription drugs -- and the rates are lower for certain medical conditions. Only 43% of patients take their medicine as prescribed to treat acute asthma. Between 40% and 70% follow the doctor's orders for depression medication. Just 51% of patients take the prescribed doses of high blood pressure medicine.

Remembering to take your medicine is the key to compliance. Medicine will be effective only when taken as prescribed by your physician. Professional Info (e-pill Web site)

Good patient compliance and adherence means taking the right drugs, on time and in the proper doses. Distant Caregiving | Links | Professional info | e-pill Medication Reminder catalog | Help to select the right Medication Reminder
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Patient Compliance

Medication non-compliance (non-adherence), the failure to take drugs on time in the dosages prescribed, is as dangerous and costly as many illnesses.

Studies have shown than non-compliance causes 125,000 deaths annually in the US (2), leads to 10 to 25 percent of hospital and nursing home admissions, and is becoming an international epidemic. It is, in the words of The New York Times (1) the world’s "other drug problem".

Negative Economic Effects of Non-Compliance

  • 23% of nursing home admissions due to noncompliance(3). Cost $31.3 billion / 380,000 patients.

  • 10% of hospital admissions due to noncompliance (4,5). Cost $15.2 billion / 3.5 million patients.


  • About 50% of the 2 billion prescriptions filled each year are not taken correctly (7).

  • 1/3 of patients take all their medicine, 1/3 take some, 1/3 don't take any at all (Rx prescription never filled) (6).

    Care Giving

  • 25,000,000 nonprofessional caregivers in the US (8).

  • 80% of nonprofessional caregivers are women (8).

  • 80%-90% of people requiring care in the US receive it from family members or friends (9).

    Merck Manual on ways to Improve Patient Compliance (Medication Reminders & Pillboxes)

    World Health Organization. Adherence to Long-Term Therapies Adherence Report)

    NCPIE Medicine Users: Tools for Consumers

    1. The New York Times June 2, 1998 2. Smith, D., Compliance Packaging: A Patient Education Tool, American Pharmacy, Vol. NS29, No 2 February 1989 3. Standberg, L.R., Drugs as a Reason for Nursing Home Admissions, American Health care Association Journal, 10,20 (1984). 4. Schering Report IX The Forgetful Patient: The High Cost of Improper Patient Compliance. 5. Oregon Department of Human Resources, A study of Long-Term Care in Oregon with Emphasis on the Elderly March 1981. 6. Hayes, R.B.NCPIE Prescription Month, October 1989 7. National Council for Patient Information and Education. 8. Rosalynn Carter Institute of Georgia Southwestern College. 9. Parade Magazine, 1/29/95.

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