Reassessing health literacy best practices to improve medication adherence among patients with dyslexia

Patient Educ Couns. 2019 Nov;102(11):2122-2127. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.05.024. Epub 2019 May 27.


Background: Dyslexia is characterized as unexpected and persistent difficulty in reading. In addition to language-based deficits, evidence indicates that people with dyslexia may struggle with tasks related to memory and executive function. This discussion paper explores how these non-linguistic deficits could plausibly affect medication adherence among patients with dyslexia.

Discussion: There is a dearth of original research literature exploring the intersection of dyslexia and health behaviors in the United States. The authors examine selected best practices from the field of health literacy with potential to improve medication adherence among patients with dyslexia and suggest areas for further research on the intersection of dyslexia, health literacy and medication adherence.

Conclusion: Dyslexia is a high-prevalence condition. Patients with dyslexia may be more likely to experience challenges when learning and implementing complex, multi-step health behaviors, such as the tasks associated with medication adherence. However, there has been no research to assess the specific needs of patients with dyslexia, or design interventions to meet those needs. Foundational research is necessary to develop a health communications framework that meets the needs of these neurodiverse patients.

Keywords: Dyslexia; Executive function; Health literacy; Learning disabilities; Medication adherence; Memory.

MeSH terms

  • Dyslexia / drug therapy*
  • Executive Function
  • Female
  • Health Literacy / methods
  • Health Literacy / standards*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Memory
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*