Adherence Therapy 101

Hypertensive patients who don't take meds on schedule could benefit from adherence therapy, claims study

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Although a quarter of the world's population experiences hypertension, around half of them do not take their medication as instructed, according to a new study.

High blood pressure (defined as readings consistently over 140 mm/Hg systolic and 90 mm/Hg diastolic) ranks as one of the most common cardiovascular diseases in the world and can lead to heart disease and stroke if not kept in check. A number of patients -- about half, according to a new study from the University of East Anglia -- do not take their medication as prescribed, putting themselves at risk of stroke and heart attack. These patients do not take their medication as instructed (such as after a meal) or they skip dosages or abandon the prescriptions altogether.

The reasons for this lack of adherence include complexity of treatment regimens, concerns over side effects and patients' ambivalence about taking medication, among others.

University of East Anglia researchers looked at 136 hypertensive patients in three outpatient clinics in Jordan and found adherence therapy courses (seven weekly classes with 20-minute face-to-face sessions between patient and trained clinician) resulted in patients taking 97 percent of their medications. This adherence lowered blood pressure readings by 14 percent on average, putting readings at just above the healthy range (120 mm/Hg over 80 mm/Hg or under).

The findings suggest "a clear clinical benefit," said lead author, professor Richard Grey of UEA's School of Nursing and Midwifery.

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Review Date: 
February 18, 2011
Last Updated:
May 27, 2011