The Reason People Skip Meds


Ineffective communication on the part of physicians is the main reason that patients don't take their meds the way they should. That's the finding of a study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, formerly known as the Archives of Internal Medicine. This information is important because the problem known as medication non-adherence is a major health issue in the United States.

The researchers – a team from the University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research --looked at 9,377 patients taking medications to lower their blood sugar, blood pressure, or cholesterol. The patients filled out questionnaires to rate how well their doctors communicated with them. The participants who gave their doctors low marks turned out to be less likely to stick to their medication schedules.

A release from the University of California, San Francisco quotes lead author Neda Ratanawongsa, MD, MPH as saying, "Communication matters. Thirty percent of people [in the study] were not necessarily taking their medications the way their doctors thought they were. Rates for non-adherence were 4 to 6 percent lower for patients who felt their doctors listened to them, involved them in decisions and gained their trust. By supporting doctors in developing meaningful relationships with their patients, we could help patients take better care of themselves."


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