Interventions to improve adherence to medication in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a review of the literature on the role of pharmacists

J Clin Pharm Ther. 2006 Oct;31(5):409-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2006.00759.x.


Background and objective: Pharmacists are now adopting a crucial role in the management of chronic illness in primary care, providing diabetes care and advice. This review aims to show whether a range of diabetes care interventions delivered by pharmacists is successful in improving adherence to medication.

Methods: The studies reviewed formed a subgroup of a Cochrane review on interventions to improve adherence to medication in people with type 2 diabetes. Search terms were 'type 2 diabetes mellitus' and 'compliance' or 'adherence'. Studies were included if they assessed adherence to medical treatment specifically, rather than other aspects of self-management. Out of the 21 studies selected for review, five described an intervention delivered by a pharmacist.

Results and discussion: Two studies reported on attempts to improve adherence focused on the taking of medication. A system of reminders and packaging improved medication adherence, but measuring medicine taking through pill counts or Medication Event Monitoring System was not effective. Three studies evaluated pharmacist-led integrated management and education programmes designed to improve glycaemic control for under-served patient populations. They all succeeded in lowering glycated haemoglobin, but it remains unclear whether this resulted from improved patient adherence.

Conclusion: This review indicates a potential benefit of pharmacist interventions to improve medication adherence in diabetes, especially in providing patient education.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Pharmaceutical Services*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • United States


  • Hypoglycemic Agents