Medication Adherence Measures: An Overview

Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:217047. doi: 10.1155/2015/217047. Epub 2015 Oct 11.

Abstract

WHO reported that adherence among patients with chronic diseases averages only 50% in developed countries. This is recognized as a significant public health issue, since medication nonadherence leads to poor health outcomes and increased healthcare costs. Improving medication adherence is, therefore, crucial and revealed on many studies, suggesting interventions can improve medication adherence. One significant aspect of the strategies to improve medication adherence is to understand its magnitude. However, there is a lack of general guidance for researchers and healthcare professionals to choose the appropriate tools that can explore the extent of medication adherence and the reasons behind this problem in order to orchestrate subsequent interventions. This paper reviews both subjective and objective medication adherence measures, including direct measures, those involving secondary database analysis, electronic medication packaging (EMP) devices, pill count, and clinician assessments and self-report. Subjective measures generally provide explanations for patient's nonadherence whereas objective measures contribute to a more precise record of patient's medication-taking behavior. While choosing a suitable approach, researchers and healthcare professionals should balance the reliability and practicality, especially cost effectiveness, for their purpose. Meanwhile, because a perfect measure does not exist, a multimeasure approach seems to be the best solution currently.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / drug therapy*
  • Chronic Disease / economics
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence*