Medication Non-Adherence: What Should Pharmacists Do?

Medication adherence is the voluntary cooperation of the patient in taking drugs as prescribed with accurate timing, dosage, and frequency which is recommended from a healthcare provider. In order to maximise the effectiveness of a drug therapy, it is necessary for patients to follow prescriptions especially patients with chronic diseases.  

However, in developed countries, adherence among patients with chronic diseases averaged at only 50% and is assumed to be worse in developing countries. In the United States, medication non-adherence even causes 125,000 preventable deaths each year. As the profession in medicine, pharmacists should realise their role to inculcate the awareness of medication adherence among the patients to ensure the success of therapies. 

Firstly, pharmacists should expand their services such as medication counselling and education session to patients. Instead of focusing on dispensing medicine, pharmacists can provide better insight on dosage and effects of drugs with clear and easy-to-understand language. Besides, pharmacists can also simplify the patient’s medication by preparing simple dosing schedule as well as communicating with physicians when the adverse effect of drugs is great. Moreover, usage of dosing cards and pill dispensers should be also encouraged by pharmacists in order to help forgetful patients to follow medication. Lastly, pharmacists should also make use of technology by sending reminder calls, texts, or e-mails through medication applications to improve medication adherence. 

All in all, maintaining medication adherence among patients is necessary as it is important in effective therapy of chronic diseases as well as preventing cost burden of healthcare sector.