Overcoming barriers: the role of providers in improving patient adherence to antihypertensive medications

Curr Opin Cardiol. 2006 Jul;21(4):310-5. doi: 10.1097/01.hco.0000231400.10104.e2.


Purpose of review: To provide an overview of recent research assessing the role of physicians and other healthcare providers in facilitating improvements in patient adherence to antihypertensive medications, to provide a framework for addressing patient adherence to antihypertensive therapy, and to propose future directions for assessing the risk of poor adherence in clinical settings.

Recent findings: Several recent studies have highlighted the role of the healthcare provider in improving patient adherence to antihypertensive therapy. Opportunities exist for providers to improve communication that enhances patients' understanding of their disease and its treatment, to tailor interventions based on whether patients are intentionally or unintentionally non-adherent, to assess and treat side-effects such as erectile dysfunction, to switch to less costly generic alternatives, and to reduce the complexities of medication regimens.

Summary: Poor adherence to prescribed therapies is common in patients with hypertension, and should be considered in the evaluation of the hypertensive patient with poor blood pressure control. When initiating treatment in patients newly diagnosed with hypertension and when monitoring patients with existent disease, providers should identify barriers to medication adherence and actively engage patients in shared decision-making regarding their treatment. These activities will facilitate adherence, which may lead to improved outcomes for patients with hypertension and other chronic cardiovascular diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Decision Trees
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Participation*
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Self Administration
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antihypertensive Agents