Effect of Drug Monitoring on Adherence and Blood Pressure: A Multicenter Randomized Clinical Trial

Am J Hypertens. 2024 May 7:hpae059. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpae059. Online ahead of print.


Background: Drug concentration in blood or urine is an acknowledged method to detect non-adherence. Observational studies suggest that informing patients about low or absent serum drug levels improves blood pressure (BP). We performed a multicenter randomized clinical trial to test the hypothesis that therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) could improve drug adherence and BP in patients with uncontrolled hypertension and reduced adherence to antihypertensive drugs.

Methods: Patients were ≥18 years on stable treatment with at least two antihypertensive agents. We planned to randomize 80 non-adherent patients with a systolic daytime ambulatory BP (ABPM) ≥135 mmHg to TDM-intervention or not. The control group and the study-personnel who measured BP remained uninformed about serum drug measurements throughout. All patients and physicians were blinded for BPs. Lifestyle advice and detailed information on disease process and importance of BP treatment were given to both groups.

Results: From 2017 to 2022, we randomized 46 diagnosed non-adherent from a total of 606 patients with uncontrolled hypertension. The TDM-group had a 6.7 (±14.5) mmHg reduction from 147.9 (±10.3) to 141.1 (±14.1) mmHg, and the control group experienced a 7.3 (±13.2) mmHg reduction from 147.1 (±9.2) to 139.1 (±17.4) mmHg, p=0.9 between groups. Adherence improved in both groups, 73% in the TDM group and 59% in the control group became adherent at three months, p=0.51.

Conclusions: In our prospective multicenter clinical trial of uncontrolled and non-adherent hypertensive patients, we found no additional effect of therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) on blood pressure and drug adherence compared with standard care.

Keywords: adherence; antihypertensive drugs; blood pressure; hypertension; non-adherence; randomized clinical trial; therapeutic drug monitoring.