COMMENTARY

Why Patients Won't Fill Your Prescriptions

Charles P. Vega, MD

Disclosures

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.

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