Beliefs and practices of Greek doctors in relation to patients' adherence to antihypertensive medication

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Although it has been proven that decreasing the arterial blood pressure decreases cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, < 25% of hypertensive patients receiving antihypertensive treatment achieve target values, which are mainly attributed to failure of the patients to comply to treatment. Ensuring patient compliance to antihypertensive treatment, to prevent the development of hypertension-associated complications, has proven to be challenging in several countries. The aim of the present study was to investigate the knowledge, perceptions and practices applied by doctors treating hypertensive patients regarding patient compliance to the prescribed treatment. We also aimed to assess the possible barriers physicians face to using reinforcement methods and currently available guidelines. A total of 202 doctors from the Serres and Drama prefectures of Greece participated in this study. The data collection comprised a quantitative method questionnaire and the data were processed using Stata 8.0 statistical software. The results demonstrated that 84.7% of the participating doctors do not use the current guidelines for compliance, whereas only 10.1% have consultations lasting > 15 min when discussing the medication with their patients. In addition, the majority (84.7%) of the doctors do not practice peer mentoring and consider the most effective interventions to be providing information and discussing the medication with their patients. In conclusion, the level of patient compliance to antihypertensive medication is unsatisfactory and the main reason is considered to be the non-use of guidelines by the treating physicians. Patients may benefit from further education of health professionals in this field.

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