Improving adherence to medication in stroke survivors: a pilot randomised controlled trial

Ann Behav Med. 2013 Dec;46(3):358-68. doi: 10.1007/s12160-013-9515-5.


Background: Adherence to preventive medication is often poor, and current interventions have had limited success.

Purpose: This study was conducted to pilot a randomised controlled trial aimed at increasing adherence to preventive medication in stroke survivors using a brief, personalised intervention.

Methods: Sixty-two stroke survivors were randomly allocated to either a two-session intervention aimed at increasing adherence via (a) introducing a plan linked to environmental cues (implementation intentions) to help establish a better medication-taking routine (habit) and (b) eliciting and modifying any mistaken patient beliefs regarding medication/stroke or a control group. Primary outcome was adherence to antihypertensive medication measured objectively over 3 months using an electronic pill bottle.

Results: Fifty-eight people used the pill bottle and were analysed as allocated; 54 completed treatment. The intervention resulted in 10 % more doses taken on schedule (intervention, 97 %; control, 87 %; 95 % CI for difference (0.2, 16.2); p = 0.048).

Conclusions: A simple, brief intervention increased medication adherence in stroke survivors, over and above any effect of increased patient contact or mere measurement.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Stroke / psychology*
  • Survivors / psychology*


  • Antihypertensive Agents

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN38274953