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Written Instructions and Patient Compliance

James H. Sammons, MD
JAMA. 1982;248(21):2890. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330210072042.
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In their article on patient compliance with prescription drug regimens, Peck and King (p 2874) pointed out several strategies that are believed to enhance compliance. Among these are a comfortable physician-patient interaction (rapport) and supplementary written instructions. Both strategies are embraced by the American Medical Association Patient Medication Instruction (PMI) Program.

During the decade-long controversy over the desirability of a mandatory, governmental program of patient package inserts, there was only one viewpoint shared by both opponents and proponents of the program—the acknowledgment that patients need to have information about the drugs they are prescribed. Indeed, it was generally conceded that access to such information is a right of patients. It was, and continues to be, the contention of medicine that physicians remain the single most important source of drug information. Thus, in most instances, drug therapy is enhanced if the prescribing physician accepts the obligation to explain the contemplated regimen


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