Adherence to multiple, prescribed medications in diabetic kidney disease: A qualitative study of consumers' and health professionals' perspectives

Int J Nurs Stud. 2008 Dec;45(12):1742-56. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Aug 13.


Background: Individuals are adherent to approximately 50% of their prescribed medications, which decreases when multiple, chronic conditions are involved.

Objective: To examine factors affecting adherence to multiple prescribed medications for consumers with co-existing diabetes and chronic kidney disease (diabetic kidney disease) from the time of prescription to the time they took their medications.

Design: A descriptive exploratory design was used incorporating in-depth interviews and focus groups.

Setting: The diabetes and nephrology departments of two metropolitan, public hospitals in Melbourne, Australia.

Participants: A convenience sample of 23 consumers with diabetic kidney disease participated in an in-depth interview. Inclusion criteria involved English-speaking individuals, aged > or =18 years, with co-existing diabetes and chronic kidney disease, and who were mentally competent. Exclusion criteria included impending commencement on dialysis, pregnancy, an aggressive form of cancer, or a mental syndrome that was not stabilised with medication. Sixteen health professionals working in diabetes and nephrology departments in Melbourne, Australia also participated in one of two focus groups.

Methods: In-depth structured interviews and focus groups were conducted and analysed according to a model of medication adherence.

Results: Consumers were not convinced of the need, effectiveness and safety of all of their medications. Alternatively, health professionals focussed on the importance of consumers taking their medications as prescribed and believed that the risk of medication-related adverse effects was over-rated. Accessing prescribed medications and difficulties surrounding continuity of care contributed to consumers' unintentional medication non-adherence. In particular, it was hard for consumers to persist taking their ongoing medication prescriptions. Healthcare system inadequacies were highlighted, which affected relationships between consumers with diabetic kidney disease and health professionals.

Conclusions: Acknowledging the barriers as perceived by consumers with diabetic kidney disease can facilitate effective communication and partnerships with health professionals necessary for medication adherence and medication safety.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / complications
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / psychology*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology*
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Personnel, Hospital / psychology*
  • Polypharmacy*
  • Prescription Drugs / adverse effects
  • Prescription Drugs / economics
  • Prescription Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Victoria


  • Prescription Drugs