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Can Med Assoc J. Jul 19, 1980; 123(2): 119–122.
PMCID: PMC1704655

Predicting compliance with a regimen of digoxin therapy in family practice.


The ability of family physicians to predict patients' compliance with a regimen of digoxin therapy was studied by an analytic survey. Compliance was assessed by a pill count at a home visit and measurement of the serum digoxin level in a blood sample obtained at that visit. Of 74 patients 70% were found to be taking more than 80% of their pills and 86% had a therapeutic serum digoxin level. The 10 physicians were unable to predict compliance better than chance, even for the 58 patients they had known for 5 or more years. Physicians should be cautious in predicting compliance, and when they prescribe oral digoxin therapy they should monitor the patient's compliance by means of the serum digoxin levels.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Caron HS, Roth HP. Patients' cooperation with a medical regimen. Difficulties in identifying the noncooperator. JAMA. 1968 Mar 11;203(11):922–926. [PubMed]
  • Mushlin AI, Appel FA. Diagnosing potential noncompliance. Physicians' ability in a behavioral dimension of medical care. Arch Intern Med. 1977 Mar;137(3):318–321. [PubMed]
  • Roth HP, Caron HS. Accuracy of doctors' estimates and patients' statements on adherence to a drug regimen. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1978 Mar;23(3):361–370. [PubMed]
  • Charney E, Bynum R, Eldredge D, Frank D, MacWhinney JB, McNabb N, Scheiner A, Sumpter EA, Iker H. How well do patients take oral penicillin? A collaborative study in private practice. Pediatrics. 1967 Aug;40(2):188–195. [PubMed]
  • Sackett DL, Haynes RB, Gibson ES, Hackett BC, Taylor DW, Roberts RS, Johnson AL. Randomised clinical trial of strategies for improving medication compliance in primary hypertension. Lancet. 1975 May 31;1(7918):1205–1207. [PubMed]
  • Marcus FI. Digitalis pharmacokinetics and metabolism. Am J Med. 1975 Apr;58(4):452–459. [PubMed]

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