Up to 50 % of patients with chronic diseases do not take their medication regularly. Poor adherence to drug therapy is associated with higher morbidity and mortality. A selective literature search using the terms adherence, compliance, concordance, persistence, medication management, and pharmaceutical care was performed. Evidence for improving adherence has been provided for the following principles: individual counselling of patients and care givers, medication management including simplifying dosing and use of combination tablets as well as the use of individual unit doses, e. g. blister cards. The effectiveness has only been shown for the duration of the interventions. The improvement of medication adherence represents an area of research with high impact on outcomes and cost. Measures to improve adherence may be as important as the development of novel therapies. However, prospective clinical evaluations with clinical endpoints are missing especially for the German health care system in order to develop recommendations for clinical practice. Joint efforts of physicians and pharmacists are needed.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.