Understanding Behaviors That Contribute to Medication Nonadherence

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Most medication nonadherence is intentional and based on personal beliefs.
Most medication nonadherence is intentional and based on personal beliefs.

HealthDay News — Understanding nonadherence in patients and encouraging a change in attitude toward patients and their medication can improve medication adherence, according to a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

An AMA STEPS Forward module has been developed to help decrease medication nonadherence in eight steps, through staff involvement, patient engagement, and behavior change.

Physicians should be aware that forgetfulness or access/cost accounts for only a small amount of nonadherence. Most nonadherence is intentional and based on personal beliefs. 

Physicians and their teams should understand why patients decide not to take their medication. Physicians and their teams need to develop a blame-free environment in order to discover nonadherence, and allow patients to feel comfortable sharing their true medication taking behavior. After understanding the causes of medication nonadherence, physicians should thank the patient for sharing the information. Instead of being confrontational, physicians should encourage patients to open up, allowing for appropriate intervention and preventing the need for starting a new workout or prescribing second-line medications unnecessarily.

"If physicians have effectively uncovered nonadherence and begin to improve the medication taking behavior of the patient, it is important to decrease or even discontinue some of the medicines in order to avoid over treating a chronic condition," according to the report.

Reference

Berg S. A game plan for medication adherence starts with building trust. AMA Wire. February 21, 2018.

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