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Medicines Adherence

Involving Patients in Decisions About Prescribed Medicines and Supporting Adherence

NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 76



The prescription of medicines is a core element of the delivery of modern health care. Medicines are widely used not only to relieve symptoms and cure conditions but to prevent ill health in the future. Medical advances, combined with an ageing population, have resulted in many patients taking multiple medicines in complex regimes. There is an increasing number and diversity of healthcare professionals involving in prescribing, dispensing or reviewing medicines. Prescribing was once the preserve of the medical profession but prescribing rights are now available to other health professionals either as independent or supplementary prescribers.

Medicine-taking is a complex human behaviour and patients evaluate medicines, and the risks and benefits of medicines using the resources available to them. Unwanted and unused medicines reflect inadequate communication between professionals and patients - about health problems and how they might be treated, and about patients’ ongoing assessment and experience of treatments. This guideline will be of help to all healthcare professionals by providing guidance on how to involve patients in the decision to prescribe medicines and on how to support patients in their subsequent use of medicines. The recommendations include advice to healthcare professionals to ensure there are robust mechanisms to ensure communication between the many professionals who may be involved in each patient’s care.


Suggested citation:

Nunes V, Neilson J, O’Flynn N, Calvert N, Kuntze S, Smithson H, Benson J, Blair J, Bowser A, Clyne W, Crome P, Haddad P, Hemingway S, Horne R, Johnson S, Kelly S, Packham B, Patel M, Steel J (2009). Clinical Guidelines and Evidence Review for Medicines Adherence: involving patients in decisions about prescribed medicines and supporting adherence. London: National Collaborating Centre for Primary Care and Royal College of General Practitioners.

Copyright © 2009, Royal College of General Practitioners.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form (including photocopying or storing it in any medium by electronic means and whether or not transiently or incidentally to some other use of this publication) without the written permission of the copyright owner. Applications for the copyright owner’s written permission to reproduce any part of this publication should be addressed to the publisher.

Bookshelf ID: NBK55440PMID: 21834197


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