Adherence

Introduction

There have been a number of terms used to describe how well patients take their medicines. You may be familiar with these:

  • ‘Compliance’: can be defined as the ‘extent to which patient’s behaviour matches the prescriber’s recommendation’.
  • This term was superseded by ‘Adherence’ which acknowledges that a patient has a choice about whether to accept prescribing advice. It is defined as the ‘extent to which patient’s behaviour matches agreed recommendations from the prescriber’.
  • More recently the term ‘Concordance’ has been used. This term too has evolved. Initially it described the position when the respective views of prescribers and patients are incorporated and agreement is reached. However, now it is accepted that concordance requires a wider view. One which stretches from the communication around prescribing decisions to the support that patients require in taking medicines.

It is common for Health Care Professionals to use these terms interchangeably. Despite any confusion this may cause, the objective remains to the same; that patients have optimal benefit from the most appropriate medicine for them.