'Complex reasons' why patients choose not to take prescribed medication, says College

Publication date: 15 April 2019

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a study in the BMJ about statins prescribing.

She said: "GPs are highly-trained to prescribe and recommend drugs if they think they will genuinely help the individual patient, based on the specific circumstances affecting their health and their personal risk factors – and then after a frank conversation about the potential risks and benefits.

"When we prescribe medication, we have to rely on patients to make sure that they take it, both at the recommended dose and for the duration of time that we think will benefit them most.

"There is a substantial body of research showing that statins are safe and effective drugs for most people, and can reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke, when prescribed appropriately – but controversy remains around their widespread use and their potential side-effects.

"There are complex reasons why patients choose not to take their prescribed medication, and mixed messaging around statins could be one of these.

"We would encourage anyone who is on regular medication to attend their scheduled medication reviews and to raise any queries or concerns they might have. But given the widespread GP shortages and intense workload pressures that we currently have in general practice, it’s hard to know what more we can do to encourage greater compliance with medications that have been recommended in good faith."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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