Adherence to treatment, sticking with it when topical or oral treatment is prescribed generally improves results. In general, people tend to follow directions in taking or applying medicines 50 to 80 percent of the time, meaning 20 to 50 percent do not. Several recent studies have demonstrated this lack of compliance. Many times with chronic skin conditions such as acne or psoriasis or eczema, patient compliance or adherence to treatment is good initially, then with human nature what it is, many tend to slack off and the treatment does not work so well any more. If forgetting is a problem, putting a written reminder sticky-note on the mirror or other reminder spot can serve as a memory jogger to stick to it. Often the patient is reluctant to mention their lack of adherence to prescribed treatment when following up with the doctor. You can really help yourself if you discuss adherence problems with your doctor and seek solutions that work for you.
Adherence to follow-up visits also generally improves results. The doctor can not see how you are doing and see whether any changes in treatment might help you if you fail to keep follow-up appointments. Again, human nature and busy lives result in some people not adhering to follow-up visits. Adhering, sticking with it, can often make the difference between so-so results and really good results when it comes to treating skin conditions. A sticky-note reminder placed in a prominent place can prompt you to remember and keep your follow-up appointment. Your skin will thank you.
by: Philip Shenefelt, M.D. Associate Professor and Dermatologist at USF
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