Why is patient non-compliance a problem with prescription drugs?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Patients are often their own worst enemies when it comes to dealing with prescription drugs. First of all, many just ignore or forget about them completely.

When you get a prescription, please fill the darn thing! About two in six prescriptions never get filled, because people think they really don't need the medicine. And a month later, I see them back in our office, sicker and contrite. I'm not writing prescriptions to practice my penmanship, you know.

And once you get the prescription filled, don't poop out on us. About half of patients who need drugs long-term stop taking their medications within six months of their last doctor visit. This is called "white coat non-compliance." Patients take their meds only as long as the doctor's white coat remains vivid in their minds. It's sort of like driving 53 mph for 20 minutes after the state trooper passes you on the highway.
YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment

More About this Book

YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment

Everyone needs to become a smart patient. In fact, in the worst cases, your life may even depend on it. Number one bestselling authors and doctors Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz have written this...

Continue Learning about Prescription Drug Adherence

Your Prescription—Right From the Start
Your Prescription—Right From the Start
Has your doctor ever handed you a prescription that you’ve been completely unable to read? But when you hand the mystery message over to the pharmacis...
Read More
How can other people help me take my medication properly?
Joshua C. Klapow, PhDJoshua C. Klapow, PhD
Taking your medication safely and consistently will help keep you healthy. This has direct benef...
More Answers
How can I remember the correct dose for injections?
Shelley Peterman SchwarzShelley Peterman Schwarz
Mark syringes with the correct dose of injectable medication. If it is difficult to remember the...
More Answers
What Could Negatively Impact Telemedicine?
What Could Negatively Impact Telemedicine?

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.