Overcompliance refers to a patient taking more than the prescribed amount of medication. This can cause the patient to have adverse effects related to overdosage. It can also be an expensive habit with some drugs.

Person at risk:

(1) A person who has a cognitive impairment, usually a geriatric patient.

(2) A patient who is taking a medication that causes sedation or other cognitive impairment.

(3) A patient who thinks that if a little drug is good then more is better.


In the first 2 situations the person forgets that s/he has already taken the drug and so takes it again.


Person at low risk:

(1) a caregiver controls drug dosing

(2) a person who carefully tracks dosing, usually with a daily or weekly pill tracker.


Clinical findings:

(1) The patient develops unexpected dose-related toxicity.

(2) The patient asks for refills too frequently or sooner than would be expected based on dosing frequency.


Differential diagnosis:

(1) diversion of drugs, usually a drug with some abuse potential (although there are depraved sorts who will take any pill available)

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