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Medical News & Perspectives
March 3, 2010

Improving Medication Adherence Promises Great Payback, but Poses Tough Challenge

JAMA. 2010;303(9):825. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.212

The problem of medication adherence typically gets little attention compared with other, more pressing issues in health care. Yet higher adherence rates could dramatically improve patient outcomes while reducing overall health care spending.

Poor adherence accounts for an estimated 33% to 69% of medication-related hospital admissions, costing about $100 billion (Osterberg L and Blaschke L. N Engl J Med. 2005;353[5]:487-497). Harder to measure, but no less real, are the premature deaths and reduced quality of life for patients; increased patient and physician anger, frustration, and hopelessness; and skewed findings for clinical research.

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