Improving patient compliance with asthma therapy

Respir Med. 2000 Jan;94(1):2-9. doi: 10.1053/rmed.1999.0667.


Patients fail to comply with asthma medication for a variety of reasons. These range from physical inability to use an inhaler, through simple forgetfulness, to a conscious decision not to use medication as prescribed due to internal or cultural health beliefs or socioeconomic factors. In some patients, poor self-care because of deep-rooted psychological factors (i.e. factors of which patients have only limited awareness) can affect compliance. Poor doctor-patient communication can be the cause in many other individuals. Thus, there is no single solution that will improve compliance in all patients. Simplifying the regimen or providing memory aids will be sufficient for some patients, while education or psychological counselling will be more appropriate for others. Doctors can also use a range of communication skills to improve the way in which they present information, motivate patients and reinforce progress. These approaches, plus respect for patients' health beliefs and involving them in treatment decisions, can help foster an atmosphere of mutual responsibility and concordance over medicine taking.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Physician-Patient Relations


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents