Potential risk factors for medication non-adherence in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2012 Oct;68(10):1365-73. doi: 10.1007/s00228-012-1279-5. Epub 2012 Apr 5.


Aims: To investigate the effect of a range of demographic and psychosocial variables on medication adherence in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients managed in a secondary care setting.

Methods: A total of 173 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COPD, recruited from an outpatient clinic in Northern Ireland, participated in the study. Data collection was carried out via face-to-face interviews and through review of patients' medical charts. Social and demographic variables, co-morbidity, self-reported drug adherence (Morisky scale), Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) scale, COPD knowledge, Health Belief Model (HBM) and self-efficacy scales were determined for each patient.

Results: Participants were aged 67 ± 9.7 (mean ± SD) years, 56 % female and took a mean (SD) of 8.2 ± 3.4 drugs. Low adherence with medications was present in 29.5 % of the patients. Demographic variables (gender, age, marital status, living arrangements and occupation) were not associated with adherence. A range of clinical and psychosocial variables, on the other hand, were found to be associated with medication adherence, i.e. beliefs regarding medication effectiveness, severity of COPD, smoking status, presence of co-morbid illness, depressed mood, self-efficacy, perceived susceptibility and perceived barriers within the HBM (p < 0.05). Logistic regression analysis showed that perceived ineffectiveness of medication, presence of co-morbid illness, depressed mood and perceived barriers were independently associated with medication non-adherence in the study (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Adherence in COPD patients is influenced more by patients' perception of their health and medication effectiveness, the presence of depressed mood and co-morbid illness than by demographic factors or disease severity.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology*
  • Northern Ireland
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Care / methods
  • Self Efficacy
  • Self Report
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires