Medications are prescribed for specific medical purposes for definite health outcomes the achievement of which depends largely on proper use. Medication therapy adherence also referred to as compliance is an assessment of a patient’s ability/commitment to taking medications consistently as instructed by their prescribers. Despite apparent challenges with finding effective and easily implementable strategies for supporting this need in primary care, none will argue its importance and significance to pharmacotherapy. According to C Everett Coop, MD and former surgeon general of the United States, medications do not work in people who don’t take them. Adherence is therefore an issue of immense importance to healthcare providers and payers due to evidence of rising costs of healthcare from pharmacotherapeutic failures that are directly linked to non-compliance. About 50% of all patients with chronic medical conditions are unable to take their medications as prescribed. Furthermore, this figure is expected to increase continually if successful interventions are not identified and implemented sooner as aging Americans will depend on more medications to manage and treat chronic illnesses. The achievement of meaningful long term medication adherence will require pharmacists to assume greater roles when performing dispensing duties.
MEDICATION THERAPY ADHERENCE: WHAT’S THE PHARMACIST GOT TO DO WITH IT?