Navigating medication-taking after kidney transplant

Res Social Adm Pharm. 2022 Oct;18(10):3846-3854. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2022.05.010. Epub 2022 May 18.


Background: Mixed methods are valuable in understanding multifaceted health behaviors like medication adherence. Kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) have complex medication regimens and are more vulnerable to nonadherence relative to other transplant recipients. Yet mixed methods have not been widely applied to examine adherence among KTRs, especially in relation to prescribed medications beyond immunosuppressants.

Objectives: As part of a sequential approach, we used in-depth interviews to better understand findings from a previous quantitative study and to describe additional factors that influence prescription medication-taking among adult KTRs.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 14 adult KTRs recruited from a transplant center in Chicago, IL. Deductive and inductive content analysis was used to code transcripts and identify key themes.

Results: Across the sample, we identified insurance challenges, disruptions in routine, and poor mental well-being as barriers to adherence at the patient level. For Black and Hispanic KTRs, poor communication between providers and disjointed care transitions posed additional barriers at the health system level. Compared with White KTRs, Black and Hispanic KTRs experienced greater medication burden due to comorbidities, while medication and digital literacy challenges were unique to Hispanic KTRs.

Conclusion: KTRs are often motivated to take medications as prescribed, but sometimes lack the capacity or support to do so. Eliciting KTR perspectives is necessary in addressing knowledge and resource gaps at the patient and health system levels to improve adherence. In addition, recognizing the relative burden of taking comorbidity medications compared with immunosuppressants may important, particularly for Black and Hispanic KTRs.

Keywords: Kidney transplant; Medication adherence; Medication-taking; Mixed methods; Post-transplant experience; Qualitative research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Medication Adherence


  • Immunosuppressive Agents