Medical Notes: Report highlights low adherence to prescribed medication


n Adherence to medication: People with asthma, diabetes and high cholesterol have the lowest adherence to prescribed medication, a report to be published today shows.

A survey of some 1,000 adults carried out last year by Behaviour and Attitudes finds forgetfulness, at 71 per cent, is the most common reason patients cite for forgetting their medication.

The survey, undertaken on behalf of the Irish Pharmacy Union, the Irish Patients Association and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, shows one in 20 patients do not take their tablets because of a fear of side effects. And about one in five of those surveyed stopped because in their view they did not need the medication any longer.

Asked which factors are most important in ensuring people took their tablets regularly, respondents rated talking regularly to a doctor as the most important.

About four in 10 rated having a good understanding of the illness and having good knowledge of how their medication works as important factors.

Patients with arthritis, elevated blood pressure and depression are more likely to be compliant, the survey shows.

But some 30 per cent of asthma patients, 31 per cent of those with diabetes and a similar proportion with high cholesterol do not take their medication regularly.

It is estimated that non-compliance with medication costs EU states about €125 billion annually.