Current Issues in Pediatric Medication Adherence
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- Matsui, D. Pediatr-Drugs (2007) 9: 283. doi:10.2165/00148581-200709050-00001
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With the recent emphasis on investigating the efficacy of medication in children, it is also important to assess what determines whether pediatric patients do or do not take their medication. In general, children are no better at adhering to drug therapy than older individuals. Dealing with medication nonadherence is essential given its association with a failure to achieve the desired treatment goal. In addition to the many factors that influence adherence in adults, there are some unique challenges faced in the pediatric age group including the role of family (and its dysfunction), the changes of adolescence, and the lack of appropriate drug formulations.
Intervention strategies to improve adherence include behavioral and educational strategies. Although there is no consensus as to what is the best approach to promote adherence with therapy, attention should be given to determining what barriers exist and trying to overcome them by involving children and their parents in the treatment planning process. If possible, the medication regimen, taking into account the frequency and timing of administration, should be tailored to the child and family’s lifestyle and daily routine. Consideration should be given to the palatability and formulations of medications prescribed for young children. The use of simplified regimens of better tasting medications and age-appropriate delivery mechanisms may enhance the ability of pediatric patients to adhere to their drug therapy.