American Journal of Medicine, internal medicine, medicine, health, healthy lifestyles, cancer, heart disease, drugs

Enhancing Medical Adherence

Adherence to a medical regimen is defined as the extent to which a patient takes a prescribed medication. The term “adherence” is often used interchangeably with “compliance,” but adherence is currently the preferred term because it implies a responsibility that is shared by both the patient and the healthcare provider.

Many barriers to appropriate medication adherence have been described in the past, including problems when treating asymptomatic conditions such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia, the cost of medication, the side effects of medications, and the complexity of medication dosing regimens. Other issues that could affect adherence to drug therapy are summarized in Table 1.

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–William H. Frishman, MD

–This article originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of The American Journal of Medicine

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