Drug compliance in adolescents: assessing and managing modifiable risk factors

Paediatr Drugs. 2002;4(8):503-13. doi: 10.2165/00128072-200204080-00003.


Many studies have found that adolescence represents a problem in compliance with prescribed drug regimens. Multiple factors contribute to this problem, including the developmental evolution taking place in the adolescent physique and psyche. Health belief and patient demographic factors, inherent disease and regimen factors, as well as the dynamics between patient and provider may also contribute to problems with compliance to treatment. Simple interventions such as working with the teen to construct a tolerable treatment regimen, assessing anticipated compliance, discussing potential adverse effects, and establishing cues from the adolescent's daily routine can positively impact treatment compliance. Healthcare providers should recognize the fact that psychosocial changes in an adolescent's life can impact upon compliance with medications and enlist the help of their patients in constructing treatment regimens taking into account the individual's lifestyle that may impact upon compliance. In particular, the healthcare provider should ask the adolescents what they anticipate their success with compliance to treatment might be, adverse effects they are concerned about and what cues could best aid the treatment plan. The healthcare provider should then synthesize this information to create the best treatment plan for that patient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Demography
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Care