Screening for noncompliance among patients with hypertension: Is self-report the best available measure?

Thomas S. Inui, William B. Carter, Roger E. Pecoraro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


The substantial prevalence of noncompliance with drugs in populations of patients with treated hypertension suggests that a reliable, clinically applicable screening test for this behavior is needed. Among employed white males, patient response to a nonjudgmental clinician inquiry has been reported to be highly predictive of noncompliance when positive but relatively insensitive (40 per cent). We assessed the performance of patient self-report in a demographically different population and confirmed the generalizability of prior observations. A compound decision rule combining blood pressure and verbal inquiry observations, however, had higher sensitivity (83 per cent) for noncompliance in our population than self-report alone (55 per cent) and could be considered for use when the prevalence of noncompliance among uncontrolled hypertensives is sufficiently high. Because 40 per cent of well-controlled hypertensives in our test population were noncompliant by pill-count, a question is raised regarding the need for “stepping down” drug therapy in some individuals under treatment for high blood pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1061-1064
Number of pages4
JournalMedical care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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