The value of adherence

Compliance or adherence in medical treatments is extremely important, especially in cardiovascular diseases where it reduces rates of hospitalization and mortality remarkably. Among strategies to improve adherence, it is possible to find medication that reduces daily  intake, presenting several drugs in only one pill (polypill).

We say lack of adherence happens when patients do not take their medication as it was prescribed by their doctors. This leads to therapeutic failure, and is a serious issue in patients with cardiovascular diseases, as hospitalization rates tend to be higher and mortality almost doubles.

Reasons why patients fail in taking their medications correctly could be involuntary, maybe even due to oblivion or confusion. Intentional non-adherence also happens for fear of possible adverse reactions, when the number of drugs is higher, because of perception of absence in improvements, or due to a belief that medication is no longer necessary and/or effective, etc.

In order to guarantee adherence, it is important that patients ask their doctors thoroughly about their disease and its possible treatments. In this way, the patient can make clear its beliefs and concerns, and they can both, together, find the best way in which he or she can incorporate the medication in their daily routine.

Other existing strategies in order to increase adherence could involve the voluntary recording of the daily medication intake by the patient, or the telephone monitoring through the family or the medical institution. In addition, there are medicines with calendar packages, and others that help reduce daily pill intake (several drugs in only one polypill).