03 March 2011

Key to Medication Adherence Is Education

This is very interesting, one group saying medication education is the key to adherence and another group saying that limited literacy may reduce medication adherence. Both are saying basically the same thing.

One group is calling for education as a tool for patients to understand their medications and how they help the condition for which they are prescribed. But will this work in the real world, that is the big question. Yes, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmacotherapy at the University of California, San Diego says that pharmacists and other health care providers need to assess the patient and include this education as part of their services.

The other study describes the problem of how the way physicians write the prescription and the pharmacist puts the instructions in the package for the patient. The two can often conflict and the patient is left wondering whether the doctor or the pharmacist is correct. They are calling for standardization of the prescription instructions.

Between the two studies, it appears that education needs to begin with the doctor and proceed to the pharmacist and then to the patient. This will require the manufacture to provide an update to the doctors of prescription requirements and possibly allowing the doctor the opportunity to print the prescription instructions for the patient. Most of this would be using standardized formats and then the pharmacist would be able to do the education of the patient. Actually a little education could be done by the doctor, but the bulk of the education would be by the pharmacist since they should be aware of all medications and where conflicts might arise.

In either study, it should be noted that education can be the key to adherence and this should be the emphasis. Read about the study at the University of California, San Diego here. Then read the other study at the University in Chicago, Illinois here. This should be a wake up about the problems that can arise.

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