Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Determinants of non-compliance with short term antibiotic regimens.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 295 doi: (Published 03 October 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;295:814
  1. J Cockburn,
  2. R W Gibberd,
  3. A L Reid,
  4. R W Sanson-Fisher
  1. Faculty of Medicine, University of Newcastle, 2308, NSW, Australia.


    The contribution of doctor, patient, and consultation interaction patterns to compliance with antibiotic treatment was examined in 233 adult patients seen in general practice. Twelve variables were shown to discriminate between compliers and non-compliers. Discriminating variables relating to patients included health state, employment state, knowledge of tablet, and perception of anxiety level, difficulty in complying, and their observed anger, distance, and assertiveness in the consultation. Discriminating variables relating to doctors included provision of advice on duration of treatment, complexity of dosage schedule, age of doctor, and number of years in practice. For the most part these results confirmed previous research. It is concluded that the doctor should consider both the dosage schedule and the patient's daily routine when prescribing antibiotic tablets. Advice on how to take the tablets should be given in specific rather than in general terms. The significant effect of the age of the doctor and the years spent in practice has not been found in previous work. This finding may reflect differences in behavior between younger doctors and their patients. This difference was not detected in the observation of consultation events.