Factors affecting adherence to antihypertensive medication in Greece: results from a qualitative study
Vassiliki Tsiantou1, Polina Pantzou2, Elpida Pavi1, George Koulierakis2, John Kyriopoulos1
1Department of Health Economics, National School of Public Health, Athens, Greece; 2Department of Sociology, National School of Public Health, Athens, Greece
Introduction: Although hypertension constitutes a major risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, research on adherence to antihypertensive treatment has shown that at least 75% of patients are not adherent because of the combined demographic, organizational, psychological, and disease- and medication-related factors. This study aimed to elicit hypertensive patients’ beliefs on hypertension and antihypertensive treatment, and their role to adherence.
Methods: Transcripts from semistructured interviews and focus groups were content analyzed to extract participants’ beliefs about hypertension and antihypertensive treatment, and attitudes toward patient–physician and patient–pharmacist relationships.
Results: Hypertension was considered a very serious disease, responsible for stroke and myocardial infarction. Participants expressed concerns regarding the use of medicines and the adverse drug reactions. Previous experience with hypertension, fear of complications, systematic disease management, acceptance of hypertension as a chronic disease, incorporation of the role of the patient and a more personal relationship with the doctor facilitated adherence to the treatment. On the other hand, some patients discontinued treatment when they believed that they had controlled their blood pressure.
Conclusion: Cognitive and communication factors affect medication adherence. Results could be used to develop intervention techniques to improve medication adherence.
Keywords: hypertension, medication adherence, patient compliance, doctor–patient communication, antihypertensive medicine
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