August 1983

Nonpharmacologic Aspects of Medication

Author Affiliations

From the Psychiatry Service and Primary Care Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(8):1544-1548. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350080050013

• The "nonspecific" and nonpharmacologic aspects of taking medication are important in several clinical situations: when patients insist on a medicine that is not clinically indicated; when they refuse an appropriate medication; when they are repeatedly troubled by side effects from a variety of drugs; and when they do not adhere to the regimen. The patient's behavior in these situations may be motivated by the psychological meanings, interpersonal communications, or social consequences of taking pills. The physician may be able to identify these psychosocial factors by learning about the patient's prior experiences with medications, by eliciting his views of physicians and medical care, and by understanding the consequences of becoming a patient.

(Arch Intern Med 1983;143:1544-1548)