What is it about?

Several medications, like anticoagulants and antiplatelets, can adversely impact surgical outcomes. Therefore, doctors and pharmacists advise patients to discontinue taking these medications prior to a surgery. However, many patients fail to comply with these instructions, resulting in medical accidents or the cancellation of surgery. In this study, we looked at patient data from a hospital in Japan to identify the rate of non-adherence and the risk factors that might be responsible for such behavior. We found that approximately 11% of the patients failed to comply with instructions regarding medicine discontinuation. This behavior was mostly observed in patients above 65 years of age.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Failure to follow medical advice regarding the discontinuation of medicines can cause potentially fatal complications during surgeries. For instance, a blood thinner prescribed for a heart condition can result in major bleeding during surgery if its usage is not discontinued beforehand. Moreover, preparing for surgeries often involves a great deal of investment in terms of time and resources. Cancellation of surgeries due to non-adherence, in turn, can be costly and burdensome for hospitals and patients alike. Few studies, if any, have looked at non-compliance with medical advice regarding discontinuing medications prior to surgery. This study reveals the rate of non-adherence and risk factors for such behavior among Asian patients. The findings convey the need for physicians and pharmacists to exercise further caution while handing out such instructions.


Failure to follow the physicians and pharmacists advice on discontinuing medications prior to surgery can have serious consequences for the patient. Patients aged 65 years or above may be at a higher risk for non-compliance, though age may not be the only determinant for adherence behavior. To improve adherence, doctors and pharmacists should convey the perils of not following medication advice, use reminders, and engage with patient’s family members to seek cooperation. Moreover, researchers must study larger populations to identify high-risk groups so that health interventions addressing non-adherence can be made more effective.

Akamine Akihiko
Gakko Hojin Kitasato Kenkyujo

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Risk Factors for Non-Adherence to Medications That Affect Surgery: A Retrospective Study in Japan, Patient Preference and Adherence, July 2022, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.2147/ppa.s365348.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page