I know this may be hard to believe, but teenagers aren’t always 100% perfectly compliant with our treatment recommendations. Shocking!
Teenagers may be horribly bothered by their skin disease. They may be bullied about it by others and possibly even by themselves. Adolescents aren’t used to taking medication; it is not the norm like it is for us geriatric people. Having acne may be more a standard part of being a teenager than taking medication.
Getting teenagers to use their medication as directed is a difficult hurdle but not insurmountable. The solution is to have parents remind their children, several times a day, to use the medication–just kidding! Having parents remind their adolescent to use the medication may be a very ineffective, often counterproductive, strategy, as many teenagers don’t want to be told what to do, especially by parents (a synonym for teenage is oppositional defiant).
Generally, teenagers want to be like other teenagers. When giving a teenager a medication, it may help to point out that “this is the medication most teenagers use for this condition.” Having a reminder system may be helpful as well. Suggesting “most teenagers tell me a reminder system helps them use the medication” could be a more effective strategy than telling a teenager, “you need a reminder system.”
In this issue, we have articles on cosmeceuticals (page 38), improving patient access to care (page 42), a brief study on how patients are going on YouTube for education on isotretinoin (page 44), and using precision-based treatments for treating atopic dermatitis (page 35). We also have an article on treating psoriasis in adolescents (page 27). This issue of the journal may be good to keep in mind as you’re treating those teenagers with acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and more who just want to feel like a normal teen.
No matter what we’re treating in adolescents, paying careful attention to what we need to do to encourage good adherence is critical.