Patients don’t fill their prescriptions?!

What?  Actually, 1/3 of prescriptions go UNfilled.  The fancy word for this is “nonadherence.”

A Canadian study followed nearly 16,000 patients.  The results: nonadherence most often this occurs due to prescribing

  • expensive drugs and
  • preventive therapies for chronic conditions.
  • Also, patients were more likely to not get medicines with higher copays, recent hospitalization, and when the patients had more severe comorbid (long-term) conditions.


Interestingly, antibiotics were  most likely to be filled.    Patients who had more visits with the prescribing physician were more likely to fill their prescriptions (this may speak to trust/knowledge of each other).  And, older patients more likely filled their prescriptions.

As a provider, I weigh the cost of the medicine and frequency medicine needs to be taken, with the effectiveness for the patient’s specific condition.  If I prescribe a medicine that the patient does not believe they need/cannot afford, who have I helped?

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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