Patient non-compliance with drug regiments for chronic diseases in northwest Ethiopia
Background: Poor compliance with prescribed medication is a major problem in chronic disease states and is often responsible for the therapeutic failure. It also unnecessarily increases the costs of health care.
Objective: To assess the magnitude and factors of non-compliance with medication prescribed for chronic diseases (tuberculosis, diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, 'hypertension, congestive heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases).
Methods: A community based cross-sectional study was conducted in Gondar town and Dabat Wereda, Northwest Ethiopia between March - June 2000. A random sample of 600 patients was included in the study. An indirect method (patient interview) was employed.
Results: The overall incidence of non-compliance was 42%. The study identifies reasons why patients don't comply with drug treatments. Almost two-third of the cohort either lack money to buy drugs or feel the side effects of drugs to be intolerable or forget to take them.
Conclusion: Non-compliance has been established to be a major detractor from the provision of optimal therapy. Greater emphasis should be placed on intervention strategies, such as patient counselling, distribution of essential drugs to all health care units, and increasing the awareness of health professionals about the issue of non-compliance. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2001;15(3):185-192]