Why Patients Won't Fill Your Prescriptions

Charles P. Vega, MD


September 02, 2014

In This Article

Clinical Pearls

• During the period from 2007 to 2008, nearly one half of Americans received a prescription for medications in the past month. Nonetheless, previous research demonstrates that many of these prescriptions are never filled. The current study reports a primary nonadherence rate of 31%.

• Variables associated with higher rates of medication nonadherence in the current study included younger patient age, more expensive medications, a greater total of medications prescribed, and more severe chronic illness.

• Adherence rates were higher for acute medications, such as anti-infective drugs, but were lowest for such medications as lipid-lowering therapy and thyroid medications.

• Previous research demonstrates that improving chronic medication adherence is resource-intensive and does not necessarily improve clinical outcomes. However, multidisciplinary patient care programs may help to reduce the use of unnecessary or harmful medications while promoting adherence to important drugs.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.