The Royal College of General Practitioners in England have recognized that if patients are to take their drugs they need to be more involved in discussions with their GP about the drugs themselves. In 2009 they recommended new guidelines for involving patients in the prescribing of drugs.
“Medicine taking is a complex human behavior, and patients evaluate medicines and the risks and benefits of medicines according to the resources available to them. Unwanted and unused medicines reflect inadequate communication between professionals and patients about health problems and how they might be treated and about patients ongoing assessment and experience of treatment. This guidance will be of help to all professionals by providing guidance on how to involve patients in the decision to prescribe medicine and on how to support patients in their subsequent use of medicines.”
It is thought that between a half and a third of all medicines prescribed for long-term conditions are not taken as recommended1.
1Medicines adherence involving patients in decisions about prescribed medicines and supporting adherence published by the RCGP January 2009 England
When they are fully informed patients often make treatment decisions that are more conservative and lower cost than those chosen by their physician.