What is medication adherence?

Medication adherence is the extent to which the patient follows the doctor’s instructions about the timing, dosage and frequency of prescribed medicines.
Goldina Erowele

Adherence may be defined as the extent to which a patient's behavior (in terms of taking medication, following a diet, modifying habits, or attending clinics) coincides with medical or health advice. The term adherence is intended to be nonjudgmental, a statement of fact rather than of blame of the prescriber, patient, or treatment. Compliance and concordance are synonyms for adherence.

Adherence to prescribed medications, both in research trials and in clinical practice, is crucial to the success of the pharmacologic interventions.

Haynes RB. Improving patient adherence: state of the art, with a special focus on medication taking for cardiovascular disorders. In: Compliance in Health Care and Research. Burke LE, Ockene IS, eds. New York, NY: Futura Publishing Co Inc; 2001:3-21.

Haynes RB, McDonald H, Garg AX. Interventions for helping patients to follow prescriptions for medications [Cochrane Review on CD-ROM]. Oxford, England: Cochrane Library, Update Software; 2002; issue 2

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.