Medication non-adherence, also referred to as medication non compliance, is an increasingly growing threat to keeping patients healthy and healthcare affordable. It is the cause of 10% of hospital readmissions and up to 25% of all nursing home admissions and results in $290 billion in otherwise avoidable medical costs each year in the U.S.
The New England Healthcare Institute estimates that between one-third to one-half of all patients in the U.S. do not take their medications as instructed, including not taking the medication on time, in the proper doses, or at all.
The reasons for non-adherence can be behavioral, attitudinal or economical. Some of the top reasons include patient lack of understanding about medical conditions and medications, inability to pay for prescriptions, desire to avoid medication side effects, and just plain forgetfulness.
Improving Patient Medication Adherence
The Role of Packaging
Adherence packaging can have a positive impact on medication adherence. A study conducted at Walter Reed Army Medical Center showed that, when a pharmacy care program utilized multimed adherence packaging, it led to increased medication adherence and clinically meaningful improvements in patient health.
Adherence packaging helps the patient by visually indicating whether or not medications were taken. This is also a helpful tool for family and other caregivers
The Role of the Pharmacist
While packaging is effective, it is only just a part of the puzzle. The problem of medication non-adherence requires a multi-faceted approach to address patient behaviors, attitudes and other barriers. By using a consultative approach, monitoring medication usage, and offering easy-to-use adherence tools, the pharmacist can be an influential member of the healthcare team.