If you read about any kind of medical treatment or talk to doctors, you'll run across the term "compliance." This word is doctor-talk for whether the patient follows the doctor's instructions. Patients who do everything the doctor recommends are called "compliant" and those who don't are "noncompliant."
Some people think that we should stop using this term because it's a throwback to the days when doctors were regarded as always knowing what's best and patients were expected to obey without question. These days, most patients expect to take an active part in making decisions about their care, and most doctors are happy to share the responsibility. But it looks as though the word "compliance" will be around for a while as a handy, shortcut way of saying whether patients are really following the treatment plans that they've agreed to. There are many reasons for noncompliance, including memory problems or instructions that are too complicated, but when the treatment involves taking seizure medicine on schedule, every day, achieving compliance is essential.
To find out, read "The Titanic Impact of Medication Compliance on Epilepsy."
Topic Editor:Steven C. Schachter, M.D.
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