How do terminally ill patients at home take their medication?

Zeppetella, G.
November 1999
Palliative Medicine;1999, Vol. 13 Issue 6, p469
Academic Journal
Compliance with prescribed medication was assessed in 111 terminally ill patients referred to a community palliative care team using semistructured interviews and pill counting. One-hundred-and-six patients were prescribed a total of 597 drugs; of these patients, 64 (60%) were noncompliant. Thirty-five patients (33%) took less medication than prescribed, usually due to experiencing, or anxieties about, adverse events; the commonest drugs involved were analgesics. Seventeen patients (16%) took additional medication, usually purchased over the counter in response to inadequate symptom control or to adverse events from other drugs; the most common preparations were vitamins and analgesics. Twelve patients (11%) both took less medication than prescribed and also purchased medication over the counter. Most patients (90%) had two or more prescribers; patients who saw their general practitioners as their main prescriber were more likely to adhere to their prescribed medication. Patients who omitted and/or reduced their medication were more likely to see the hospital as their main prescriber. Drugs prescribed four times daily were most likely to be omitted and/or reduced.


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