Nonadherence to prescribed medications can lead to medical complications, disease progression, hospitalizations, overestimated dosing requirements, impaired quality of life, and death, as well as incurring substantive costs for the healthcare system from suboptimal dosing during ambulatory pharmacotherapy. Adherence can be improved by helping patients build habits of taking prescribed medications, impacting day-to-day implementation of and persistence with rationally prescribed drug dosing regimens. Accurate, easily understood and personally relevant feedback is clearly relevant to many patients in this process. There is a clear-cut need for studies specifically designed to investigate interventions aimed at improving adherence, taking into account the sometimes complex nature of these interventions. Implementation of results from such studies can be expected to improve outcomes. For scientific progress to be maintained in this field, there is also a clear need for consistent use of a sound taxonomy for the dosing errors that comprise poor adherence (distinguishing between initiation, implementation and discontinuation), and for interventions performed to improve adherence.
Keywords: adherence; behavioral change; clinical pharmacology; habit; implementation; intervention; taxonomy.