Adherence to Long-Term Therapies - Evidence for Action
(2003; 211 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentScientific writers
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentTake-home messages
Open this folder and view contentsSection I - Setting the scene
Open this folder and view contentsSection II - Improving adherence rates: guidance for countries
Open this folder and view contentsSection III - Disease-Specific Reviews
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes
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World Health Organization

World Health Organization
2003, 110 pages [E]
ISBN 92 4 154599 2
Swiss francs: 30.-/US$ 27.00
In developing countries: Sw. 15.-/US$ 13.50
Order no. 1150526

Adherence to
Long-term Therapies

Evidence for action

Adherence to therapies is a primary determinant of treatment success. Poor adherence attenuates optimum clinical benefits and therefore reduces the overall effectiveness of health systems.

"Medicines will not work if you do not take them" - Medicines will not be effective if patients do not follow prescribed treatment, yet in developed countries only 50% of patients who suffer from chronic diseases adhere to treatment recommendations. In developing countries, when taken together with poor access to health care, lack of appropriate diagnosis and limited access to medicines, poor adherence is threatening to render futile any effort to tackle chronic conditions, such as diabetes, depression and HIV/AIDS.

This report is based on an exhaustive review of the published literature on the definitions, measurements, epidemiology, economics and interventions applied to nine chronic conditions and risk factors. These are asthma, cancer (palliative care), depression, diabetes, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, tobacco smoking and tuberculosis.

Intended for health managers, policy-makers and clinical practitioners this report provides a concise summary of the consequences of poor adherence for health and economics. It also discusses the options available for improving adherence, and demonstrates the potential impact on desired health outcomes and health care budgets. It is hoped that this report will lead to new thinking on policy development and action on adherence to long-term therapies.



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