A Prospective Randomized Trial on the Effect of Using an Electronic Monitoring Drug Dispensing Device to Improve Adherence and Compliance

Transplantation. 2016 Jan;100(1):203-9. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000000971.


Background: Outcome after renal transplantation depends on patient compliance and adherence for early detection of complications and identification of intervention opportunities. Compliance describes the degree to which patients follow medical advice and take their medications. Adherence has been defined as the extent to which a patients' behavior coincides with clinical prescriptions.

Materials and methods: Patients were randomized 7 to 14 days after transplantation into groups with (n = 40) and without (n = 40) an electronic medication dispenser (EMD). The EMD, which was used for the 1-year study period, recorded the date and time the patient took their medications and was monitored via a web-based application. Patients were monitored for 1 year regarding outpatient follow-up visits, emergency hospitalizations, renal biopsies, rejection episodes, renal function, and blood concentration of medications.

Results: Compliance in the intervention group was 97.8% (the control group was not assessed). Number of missed doses varied significantly by weekday (P = 0.033); patients were most likely to miss doses on Saturdays and Thursdays. Patients missed a total of 11 follow-up visits. During the study, 92 biopsies were performed on 55 patients (intervention group: 32 [17]; control group, 60 [38]). Biopsy-verified rejection was three times more common among controls (13 patients vs. 4; P = 0.054, not significant). Average P-creatinine level was slightly lower in the intervention group than the control group (131 vs. 150 μmol/L, not significant), whereas mean tacrolimus was similar (7.32 vs. 7.22 ng/mL, n.s.).

Conclusions: The EMD is associated with high compliance, and there are also indications of a lower rejection rate.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biopsy
  • Child
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Drug Monitoring / instrumentation*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Electrical Equipment and Supplies*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • Graft Rejection / pathology
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control*
  • Graft Survival / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Internet
  • Kidney Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Creatinine