Content » Vol 86, Issue 3


To Follow or Not to Follow Dermatological Treatment

Jørgen Serup, Åsa Kettis Lindblad, Marianne Maroti, Karin I. Kjellgren, Eva Niklasson, Lena Ring, Johan Ahlner
DOI: 10.1080/00015555-0073


Creams, ointments and solutions applied to the skin surface by patients as part of a daily routine might be expected to provide a more variable dosage than do standard tablets. However, adherence to treatment in dermatology has been little studied. This article reviews recent publications in the field. These are dominated by questionnaire­-based studies, which tend to over-estimate adherence. Reduced adherence to dermatological treatment is noted in 34–45% of patients. It is likely that the percentage of patients who practice truly optimal treatment in their daily life is even lower considering the variable practice of self-treatment. Self-reported psychiatric morbidity contributes to poor adherence to dermatological treatment, while a well-functioning doctor–patient interaction is a major determinant of good adherence, as is patient satisfaction. In conclusion, adherence to dermatological treatment is unsatisfactory and there is a need for intervention and change in clinical routines. The therapeutic and economic benefits may be considerable. The immediate challenge is to stimulate a change in patient behaviour and improve self-treatment at home.


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