Adherence to Topical Therapy Increases Around the Time of Office Visits

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 Jul;57(1):81-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2007.04.005. Epub 2007 May 10.


Background: The efficacy of topical medications is limited by non-adherence. Interventions to improve adherence to topical treatments are not well characterized.

Objective: To assess the impact of office visits on patients' adherence to topical treatment.

Methods: Twenty-nine subjects enrolled in a clinical trial for psoriasis and were followed for up to 8 weeks. Subjects were told to apply 6% salicylic acid gel twice daily. Electronic monitors were used to assess adherence. Results were compared to adherence in clinical trials of hand dermatitis and atopic dermatitis.

Results: Adherence rates were significantly higher around the time of office visits (P < .05).

Limitations: This is a small study in a limited patient population. The study was observational and not a randomized trial of the effect of increased office visits.

Conclusion: Frequent follow-up visits in clinical trials increase patients' adherence to medications. The use of a follow-up visit shortly after initiating treatment may be an effective way to boost patients' use of their medication and achieve better treatment outcomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Gels / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Office Visits*
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Salicylic Acid / administration & dosage*


  • Gels
  • Salicylic Acid