Medication adherence patterns in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chest. 1991 Apr;99(4):837-41. doi: 10.1378/chest.99.4.837.


While medical treatment of COPD has advanced, the failure to adhere to regimens for medication poses a significant barrier to effective management. Furthermore, no data are available regarding adherence for patients within the United States. Data from this investigation indicate that 78 outpatients from a medical center in the southeastern region of the United States were prescribed an average of 6.26 medications with both various dosing schedules and different modes of administration. Adherence was poor, with 42 patients (54 percent) underutilizing medications, 39 patients (50 percent) overutilizing medications during periods of respiratory distress, and 24 patients (31 percent) employing ineffective inhaler dosing techniques. Prescription patterns and adherence were not associated with demographic variables; however, adherence was related to classes of medication and situational variables.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Administration, Oral
  • Alabama / epidemiology
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Self Administration / methods


  • Bronchodilator Agents