Medication Adherence: A Literature Review

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


October 12, 2005

In This Article

Practice Pearls

Medication adherence remains an important component of the practice of pharmacy. Pharmacists need to pay particular attention to interventions that may help patients maintain or improve compliance:

  • Educating patients about the importance of adherence -- This is especially important in adolescent patients with life-threatening or life-long diseases that require maintenance medication.

  • Identifying ways to help patients avoid running out of medications (ie, refill reminders)

  • Providing strategies for improving adherence with medication aids, such as pillboxes and dosing calendars

  • Identifying confounding factors that may adversely affect adherence

  • Reviewing medication regimens to identify possible simplification strategies

Pharmacists are in an excellent position to impact patient medication adherence. Because of pharmacists' direct access to patients, they can identify poor adherence, help remove barriers that may be evident, and facilitate the incorporation of adherence interventions into the care of their patients.


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