Adherence to Long-Term Therapies: Evidence for Action
ISBN 92 4 154599 2
2003, 110 pages [E]
In developing countries: Sw. 15.-/US$ 13.50
Order no. 1150526
You may order online at: http://bookorders.who.int
Adherence to therapies is a primary determinant of treatment
success. Poor adherence attenuates optimum clinical benefits and
therefore reduces the overall effectiveness of health systems.
“Medicines will not work if you do not take them” – Medicines will
not be effective if patients do not follow prescribed treatment, yet in
developed countries only 50% of patients who suffer from chronic
diseases adhere to treatment recommendations. In developing
countries, when taken together with poor access to health care, lack
of appropriate diagnosis and limited access to medicines, poor
adherence is threatening to render futile any effort to tackle chronic
conditions, such as diabetes, depression and HIV/AIDS.
This report is based on an exhaustive review of the published literature
on the definitions, measurements, epidemiology, economics
and interventions applied to nine chronic conditions and risk factors.
These are asthma, cancer (palliative care), depression, diabetes,
epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, tobacco smoking and tuberculosis.
Intended for health managers, policy-makers and clinical practitioners
this report provides a concise summary of the consequences of
poor adherence for health and economics. It also discusses the
options available for improving adherence, and demonstrates the
potential impact on desired health outcomes and health care budgets.
It is hoped that this report will lead to new thinking on policy
development and action on adherence to long-term therapies.