Objectives: To determine the rate of compliance with filling of prescriptions written in a pediatric emergency department and to examine the reasons for not filling the prescriptions.
Design: Compliance with filling prescriptions was determined using a follow-up standardized telephone questionnaire, designed so that it was not obvious that assessing prescription filling was the major reason for the study. Compliance herein was defined as having the prescription filled on the same or next day of the pediatric emergency department visit.
Setting: Pediatric emergency department of a tertiary care hospital.
Subjects: Pediatric patients discharged home with a drug prescription.
Main outcome measure: The proportion of prescriptions written in the pediatric emergency department that were filled on either the same or next day as determined by telephone follow-up. This outcome is expressed as a proportion with 95% confidence interval.
Results: Follow-up was completed in 1014 (83%) of the 1222 children, aged 4.5 +/- 4.2 (mean +/- SD) years. Compliance with prescription filling was 92.7% (940/1014). Parental reasons for not filling the prescription included medication unnecessary (27%), financial (6.8%), and not enough time (6.8%). Dissatisfaction with the explanation of the medical problem, instructions for treatment, and instructions for follow-up treatment were significantly associated with noncompliance by univariable logistic regression (P<.05).
Conclusion: The rate of prescription nonfilling in children seen in a pediatric emergency department is at least 7%, although lower than that in adults in a similar setting.