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Psychological medicine

Working with the noncompliant patient

Darryl Wade, Peter Burnett

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Abstract

There are many reasons why a patient may not comply with a medication or treatment. Usually these can be managed by thorough assessment of the situation and the patient’s concerns, discussion of the issues and careful negotiation with the patient.

Article Extract

Remember
  • Noncompliance with medical advice or treatment is common, with at least half of all patients being noncompliant at some stage of treatment.
  • Compliance tends to be lower in conditions that require longer-term prophylactic treatment and where the consequences of treatment discontinuation are delayed.
  • Medication noncompliance is an important factor in treatment outcomes for many medical conditions, and the increased morbidity and mortality rates are a significant public health problem in terms of human and economic costs.
  • The rate of noncompliance with treatment for psychiatric disorders is probably no worse than in treatment for physical disorders.

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