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Gerontology. 2002 Jan-Feb;48(1):44-51.

Non-compliance with drug treatment and reading difficulties with regard to prescription labelling among seniors.

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Groupe de recherche en épidémiologie, Faculté de pharmacie, Hôpital du St-Sacrement du CHA, Université Laval, 1050 chemin Ste-Foy, Québec, G1S 4L8 Canada.


BACKGROUND; The link between experiencing difficulties in reading or understanding and non-compliance with drug treatment among seniors is not clearly established.


We measured the effect of both difficulties in reading, as well as difficulties in understanding prescription labelling, on non-compliance with drug treatments among seniors. Since the use of a pill organizer prepared by a pharmacist may compensate for the problems in reading, we also checked the potential modifying effect of the use of a pill organizer on these two associations.


Data on non-compliance with drug treatment, comprehension of prescription labelling and on the factors potentially linked to non-compliance, were collected during face-to-face interviews with 325 seniors.


In all, 126 respondents (38.8%) were not able to read all the prescription labels and 218 (67.1%) did not fully understand all the information. 153 respondents were non-compliant with their drug treatment. After adjusting for sex, age, living alone or not, having had help with taking the medication, use of a pill organizer, having had sufficient funds to procure his medicine during the previous month, belief in the efficacy of his medication, perception of his state of health, satisfaction with physician-given and pharmacist-given information, as well as the complexity of the treatment, the two associations remained statistically non-significant. The use of a pill organizer was not a modifying factor.


Our results did not demonstrate the existence, among seniors, of an association between non-compliance and difficulty in reading and understanding prescription labelling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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