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Review: evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to improve patient adherence to prescribed medications is limited

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R B Haynes

Professor R B Haynes, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada;


Are interventions to improve patient adherence to self- administered prescribed medications effective?


Studies selected evaluated interventions to improve adherence to medications prescribed for medical disorders (including mental but not addiction disorders), had ⩾80% follow-up in each study group, reported both medication adherence and treatment outcomes, and had ⩾6 month follow-up in trials of long-term treatments that had positive initial results.


Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Cochrane Library, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, PsycINFO, and Sociological Abstracts (all to Jan 2007); and reference lists were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Authors of relevant trials and reviews were contacted. 78 RCTs ({93}* unconfounded interventions, 10 with short-term treatment and {83}* with long-term treatment; n = 32–1113) met the selection criteria; 20 reported concealment of allocation. Conditions studied included asthma or chronic …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.