Don’t blame doctors for medication nonadherence

The New York Times says nonadherence to prescribed medications is “an out-of-control epidemic” in the U.S. and quotes a review in Annals of Internal Medicine, which found “20-30% of medication prescriptions are never filled, and approximately 50% of medications for chronic illness are not taken as prescribed.”

For example, “a third of kidney transplant patients don’t take their anti-rejection medications, 41% of heart attack patients don’t take their blood pressure medications, and half of children with asthma either don’t use their inhalers at all or use them inconsistently.”

Many reasons for nonadherence were discussed — aversion to chemicals, a desire to do things “naturally,” pills represent reminders of sickness, self-experimentation with stopping medications and noticing no change in perceived health, and drug costs.

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