How many adults admit not always taking their medications as prescribed?

Three out of four adults acknowledge not always taking their medicines as directed.
Poor adherence to medicines takes many forms, and nearly 75 percent of adults report engaging in one or more nonadherent behaviors. While the most common form of
non-adherence is simply forgetting to take a prescribed medicine, almost 30 percent of patients stop taking their medicine before it runs out and another third of patients
report not taking a prescription to the pharmacy to be filled in the first place.

Among patients who fill their prescriptions, 70-75 percent do not take their medicines as prescribed, meaning they skip doses, take less than the recommended amount, or
stop taking the medicine earlier than they are instructed to do so.

Chronic disease affects nearly one in two Americans and treating chronically ill patients accounts for $3 out of every $4 spent on medical care in America. Treatment often involves following medication regimens over long periods of time to slow disease progression and prevent costly complications. Electronic monitoring studies indicate that among chronically ill patients who fill their prescriptions, only about half actually take their medicines as directed by their physicians.

Unfortunately, doctors are unable to predict which of their patients will likely be non-adherent to treatment. As former CBO Director Peter Orszag recently noted, “Doctors are no more accurate than relying on a coin flip in determining who will adhere to treatment and who won’t (even among patients they know well).”

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