When patients don't take their medications as prescribed, it can lead to a number of problems for their health. For example, if a patient is taking an antibiotic for pneumonia but doesn't finish all of the pills in the prescription or takes less than what is recommended, then they won't be able to get rid of the infection completely. This can cause them to develop complications such as secondary infections or chronic illnesses like asthma or COPD years later.

What is Medication Compliance?

Medication compliance is the extent to which a person follows the instructions of their doctor or health care provider. Medication non-compliance (also known as nonadherence) may be due to forgetting when to take medications, not following prescribed dosing and timing schedules, taking medication at different times than recommended by a doctor or health care provider, not completing all steps of treatment when prescribed for long-term disease prevention and management strategies such as statin therapy for high cholesterol levels, or mixing up medications with other drugs.

Poor medication compliance can have several consequences including:

  • Poor health outcomes: If you don't take your medications correctly, they won't work as well in preventing illness or controlling chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. In addition, taking too much medication can lead to harmful side effects including liver damage caused by acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Expensive hospital stays: Hospitalizations often result from poor adherence to medical advice such as not getting enough fluids after surgery or having another fall while recovering from an illness because they weren't taking their medicines properly.

Medication Non-Compliance Statistics

Medication non-compliance is a significant problem in the United States. It has been estimated that 50% of patients do not take their medications as prescribed, and this can lead to poor health outcomes and higher healthcare costs.

Another study found that more than half of all hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries were for conditions related to medication non-compliant behavior. This has serious implications for our healthcare system, as it places an unnecessary burden on hospitals, providers and patients alike.

What are the causes of medication non-compliance?

There are many causes of non-compliance, including:

  • Lack of understanding of the importance of medication
  • Lack of knowledge about the condition or the medication
  • Fear of side effects
  • Feeling they are not ill enough to take the medication
  • Lack of motivation

If you have any questions about any aspect of your health, it is important to talk with your doctor. It is also important that you know what type and how much medication you need to take each day. If you do not know how much to take or when it should be taken, it can cause problems with compliance and increase your risk for more serious health problems.

Guidelines for getting patients to comply with their medication schedules

Medication compliance is a crucial part of managing your mental health and hypertension. When you take your anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, or blood pressure medication correctly, it helps you feel better faster and stay healthy longer—and it may also keep you from having to go back to the doctor again soon.

To help patients stay on track with their medications:

  • Educate them on what each medication does and why they need it in the first place. Let them know why this treatment is important for their overall well-being (this can be especially helpful when discussing behavioral therapy).
  • Explain that taking their medication as prescribed will prevent serious side effects from occurring later down the line. If there are any issues with one medication that could make another necessary (e.g., if there's no improvement after two weeks), let them know about those options as well so they can choose what works best for them in terms of managing symptoms or preventing relapse.* Give tips on how often each dose should be taken so that getting enough sleep becomes easier; this includes setting reminders on phones or computers so patients don't forget!

When patients miss their medications or take less of them than prescribed, this can cause a number of problems for their health.

You may have noticed that the word "compliance" is used frequently when discussing medication. We use it because medication compliance is an important part of good health, and can help prevent complications or hospitalization.

If you're taking a prescription drug for a chronic condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it's recommended that you take your medications exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. When patients don't take their medications or miss doses of them completely, this can cause a number of problems for their health:

  • The effectiveness of the drug will be compromised. If people aren't taking their medication properly then we know less about how effective it would be if taken correctly (i.e., at full dosage). And this leads to…
  • A higher risk of complications from heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus (DM) because there's not enough data on how well these drugs work when patients are non-compliant with therapy guidelines.* A higher risk for hospitalization due to lack of control over DM symptoms (such as blood glucose levels).


Medication non-compliance is a real issue. Although there are many reasons why patients might not follow their prescribed treatment plan, the most important thing is to help those patients who do have an issue with compliance and make sure they get the care they need.