Strategies to Improve Drug Adherence

Ulrich Laufs; Volker Rettig-Ewen; Michael Böhm


Eur Heart J. 2011;32(3):264-268. 

In This Article


Increasing numbers of elderly patients require polypharmacy for chronic diseases. Non-adherence to medications is common and is associated with adverse treatment outcomes. Reduced adherence is an indicator of higher morbidity, adverse events, and costs. Practice guidelines on measures to improve adherence are urgently needed. Although research in drug adherence has only recently started obtaining broader attention, major reasons for insufficient drug adherence have been identified, and counter-measures proposed. Among these measures, an improved pharmaceutical care with thorough patient information and regular reminders by therapists, nurses, and pharmacists and the systematic use of pre-packed time-specific unit doses, e.g. in blister packs, have shown evidence of robust improvements of adherence. Optimising the adherence of medication administration may represent a powerful measure to reduce morbidity and mortality. However, because of the 'healthy adherer' effect, prospective clinical trials are urgently needed to test the effects of measures to improve adherence on clinical endpoints.


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