Taking immunosuppressive medications effectively (TIMELink): a pilot randomized controlled trial in adult kidney transplant recipients

Clin Transplant. 2011 Nov-Dec;25(6):864-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2010.01358.x. Epub 2010 Nov 16.


Background: Immunosuppressive medication non-adherence is one of the most prevalent but preventable causes of poor outcomes in adult renal transplant recipients, yet there is a paucity of studies testing interventions in this area.

Methods: Using a randomized controlled trial design, 30 adult renal transplant recipients were screened for medication non-adherence using electronic monitoring. Fifteen non-adherent participants were randomized to receive either a continuous self-improvement intervention or attention control management. The six-month continuous self-improvement intervention involved the participant and clinical nurse specialist collaboratively identifying the person's life routines, important people, and possible solutions to enhance medication taking. The participant then received individual monthly medication taking feedback delivered via a graphic printout of daily medication taking generated from electronic monitoring.

Results: The mean medication adherence score for the continuous self-improvement intervention group (n = 8) was statistically significantly higher than the attention control group's (n = 5) mean medication adherence score (p = 0.03). The continuous self-improvement intervention effect size (Cohen's d) was large at 1.4. Participants' perceptions of the intervention were highly favorable.

Conclusions: The continuous self-improvement intervention shows promise as an effective and feasible approach to improve medication adherence in adult renal transplant recipients. A fully-powered study with a diverse sample is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prognosis


  • Immunosuppressive Agents