Type 2 diabetes is a complex, progressive endocrine and metabolical disease that typically requires substantial lifestyle changes and multiple medications to lower blood glucose, reduce cardiovascular risk and address comorbidities. Despite an extensive range of available and effective treatments, < 50% of patients achieve a glycaemical target of HbA(1c) < 7.0% and about two-thirds die of premature cardiovascular disease. Adherence to prescribed therapies is an important factor in the management of type 2 diabetes that is often overlooked. Inadequate adherence to oral antidiabetes agents, defined as collecting < 80% of prescribed medication, is variously estimated to apply to between 36% and 93% of patients. All studies affirm that a significant proportion of type 2 diabetes patients exhibit poor adherence that will contribute to less than desired control. Identified factors that impede adherence include complex dosing regimens, clinical inertia, safety concerns, socioeconomic issues, ethnicity, patient education and beliefs, social support and polypharmacy. This review explores these factors and potential strategies to improve adherence in patients with type 2 diabetes.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.