Improving drug compliance requires more than reminders and convenience

In recent posts I’ve described two approaches to improving drug compliance and persistency: a device to prompt patients to take their medications, and more convenient dosing schedules. A survey by Harris Interactive for the Wall Street Journal illustrates that while those approaches are important they won’t solve the whole problem.

In the survey, 63 percent of the respondents had been prescribed drugs that were supposed to be taken on a regular basis during the past year. Of those, the majority reported at least some non-compliance. Top reasons cited for non-compliance were:

  • Forgot to take(64%)
  • No symptoms or symptoms went away (36%)
  • Wanted to save money (35%)
  • Didn’t believe the drugs were effective (33%)
  • Didn’t think I needed to take them (31%)
  • Painful or frightening side effects (28%)
  • Drugs prevented me from doing other things I wanted to do (25%)
  • No one reminded me to keep taking or refill (20%)
  • Difficulty getting prescription filled (20%)
  • Unpleasant taste or smell (19%)
  • Difficulty opening the bottle or swallowing the drug (16%)
  • Confused by all the drugs I had to take (15%)
March 30, 2005

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