Medication Adherence: A Literature Review

Charlotte A. Kenreigh, PharmD, and Linda Timm Wagner, PharmD


October 12, 2005

In This Article

Type 2 Diabetes

Adherence rates for patients with type 2 diabetes have ranged from 65% to 85% for oral agents and 60% to 80% for insulin.[5] Influences on adherence in this population are similar to those in patients with other chronic diseases: understanding of the treatment regimen, treatment regimen complexity, perception of the benefits of treatment, adverse effects, costs of medications, and emotional well-being.

Patients from urban, low-socioeconomic areas are generally believed to be at higher risk for nonadherence. However, in a study of 181 African Americans in East Baltimore with type 2 diabetes, a 74% adherence rate to diabetic medications was reported.[6] These results contradict the notion that patients with a lower socioeconomic status have a higher rate of nonadherence. The authors suggest that the high adherence rate may be linked to a diabetes regimen that is easier to follow and has a less significant impact on lifestyle.

The authors recommend that, in addition to continuing patient education efforts, pharmacists should adopt interventions that are designed to prevent a patient from running out of medication and to help them remember to take medications as ways to improve adherence to diabetic regimens in this demographic sector.


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