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East Afr Med J. 2001 Jan;78(1):45-8.

Compliance with medication in patients with heart failure in Zimbabwe.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Health Science Building, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box A178, Avondale, Harare, Zimbabwe.



To determine the extent of adherence to prescribed medication in patients with chronic heart failure and to determine to what extent patients recall information given regarding their medication.


Compliance and knowledge of prescribed medication was studied in 22 heart failure patients [mean age 45 +/- 4 (range 40-67); 14 (64%) male], using in-depth interviews performed 30 days after having been prescribed medication. All patients received standardised verbal and written information regarding their medication.


Patients attending four general practices in the private sector (in Harare, Zimbabwe) for at least six months prior to enrolling were in included in the study.


Only 12 (55%) patients could correctly name what medication had been prescribed, 11 (50%) were unable to state the prescribed doses and 14 (64%) could not account for when the medication was to be taken, that is to say, at what time of day and when in relation to meals the medication was to be taken. In the overall assessment six (27%) patients were found non-compliant and 16 (73%) patients were considered as possibly being compliant with their prescribed medication.


Non-compliance was common in heart failure patients, as were shortcomings in patients' knowledge regarding prescribed medication, despite efforts to give adequate information. There exists a need for alternative strategies to improve compliance in these patients.

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