Nonadherence Higher in Insulin Patients

Research shows that approximately 10% of all patients decide right in the physician’s office not to fill the initial prescription. It is striking that 26% of diabetic patients decide not to get their initial insulin prescriptions filled.

Why ?

Patients try to make wise decisions but often make critical decisions regarding their medications because of fears. Patients give the following reasons:

“I thought this was the result of personal failing”

Patients often believe it is their fault that they are being put on insulin.

“I’m afraid of needles, hypoglycemia, and weight gain”

45% percent of patients would avoid injections if they were prescribed insulin. Close to 70% of patients would have a problem if they had to increase their injections to more than twice per day.

“I don’t believe that the treatment can help me.”

Patients often fear that the disease is worsening and 73% of patients do not have faith in their treatment or medical team.

These patients need high quality patient information materials.

Address Patients’ Concerns

When you develop your patient education materials, make sure to address predictable patient concerns. For example, if 45% of patients are afraid of insulin injections, it will help decrease their fear of pain by explaining that, “Today, there are ultrafine needles that are almost painless.”

When a physician hands a prescription to a patient and automatically assumes the patient is going to follow through and get the prescription filled, they are making a big mistake. Patients do not normally tell the physician they are not going to get the prescription filled because they want to “please” the physician.

At the end of the day, it is the patient’s decision to take or not take the medication. Patients weigh the risks against the benefits of a drug therapy whenever they are handed a prescription.

One of the reasons that so many initial prescriptions

go unfilled is that patients are not told the

risks of not filling a prescription.


Physicians and pharmacists are pressed for time in their clinical practices. They need effective patient education tools that they can use to help make this happen.

*References available upon request.

Copyright Consumer Health Information Corporation