Research Article

Improving medication compliance: a randomised clinical trial.

Br Med J 1979; 2 doi: (Published 27 October 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;2:1031
  1. S E Norell


    A medical monitor which recorded the date and hour each time a medicine bottle was opened was used to evaluate a programme for improving patients' compliance with their treatment. Eighty-two patients with glaucoma who had been prescribed pilocarpine eye drops three times daily to prevent visual loss were randomised into two groups. Both groups used the medication monitor during two 20-day periods, but before the second period the experimental group were given an education and tailoring programme in an attempt to improve their compliance. Nine patients missed the second treatment period and were excluded from the analysis. The patients in the experimental group showed significantly improved compliance when compared with the control group. The numbers of missed doses were reduced by about half, as was the proportion of time that exceeded the eight-hour dose intervals. Follow-up studies are needed to determine how long the improved compliance persists, but anyone considering setting up an education and tailoring programme should recognise the extent to which therapeutic efforts are wasted because of non-compliance.