Back to Journals » Patient Preference and Adherence » Volume 7

Definitions, variants, and causes of nonadherence with medication: a challenge for tailored interventions

Authors Hugtenburg JG, Timmers L, Elders P, Vervloet M, van Dijk L

Received 31 December 2012

Accepted for publication 2 April 2013

Published 10 July 2013 Volume 2013:7 Pages 675—682


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Jacqueline G Hugtenburg,1 Lonneke Timmers,1 Petra JM Elders,2 Marcia Vervloet,3 Liset van Dijk3

1EMGO+ Institute and Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacy, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, 2ANH-VUmc, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, 3NIVEL, Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Background: Nonadherence with medication is a complex and multidimensional health care problem. The causes may be related to the patient, treatment, and/or health care provider. As a consequence, substantial numbers of patients do not benefit optimally from pharmacotherapy, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality as well as increased societal costs. Several interventions may contribute to improved adherence. However, most interventions have only a modest effect. Thus, despite the many efforts made, there has been little progress made as yet in tackling the problem of nonadherence.
Methods: This paper summarizes the definitions and taxonomy of adherence with medication, as well as types and causes of nonadherence. In addition, interventions aimed at improvement of adherence are discussed.
Conclusion: There is not just one solution for the nonadherence problem that fits all patients. Most interventions to improve adherence are aimed at all patients regardless of whether they are adherent or not. Recently, a number of tailored interventions have been described in the literature. Modern techniques are useful. Electronic pill boxes combined with Short Message Service reminders are specifically designed to improve unintentional adherence and have resulted in an increase in refill adherence in diabetic patients with suboptimal adherence. Tailored Internet interventions are a possibility for influencing patient drug-taking behavior and show promising results. Tailored counseling interventions targeted at the underlying causes of nonadherence seem an attractive method for supporting patients with their use of drugs. However, despite the plausible theoretical framework, data on long-term health effects of the various interventions are not available. To improve adherence effectively, there is a need for a tailored approach based on the type and cause of nonadherence and the specific needs of the patient.

Keywords: adherence, compliance, concordance, tailored intervention

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]


Other article by this author:

Identification of drug-related problems of elderly patients discharged from hospital

Ahmad A, Mast MR, Nijpels G, Elders PJM, Dekker JM, Hugtenburg JG

Patient Preference and Adherence 2014, 8:155-165

Published Date: 4 February 2014

Readers of this article also read:

Emerging and future therapies for hemophilia

Carr ME, Tortella BJ

Journal of Blood Medicine 2015, 6:245-255

Published Date: 3 September 2015

Green synthesis of water-soluble nontoxic polymeric nanocomposites containing silver nanoparticles

Prozorova GF, Pozdnyakov AS, Kuznetsova NP, Korzhova SA, Emel’yanov AI, Ermakova TG, Fadeeva TV, Sosedova LM

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2014, 9:1883-1889

Published Date: 16 April 2014

Methacrylic-based nanogels for the pH-sensitive delivery of 5-Fluorouracil in the colon

Ashwanikumar N, Kumar NA, Nair SA, Kumar GS

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:5769-5779

Published Date: 15 November 2012

A novel preparation method for silicone oil nanoemulsions and its application for coating hair with silicone

Hu Z, Liao M, Chen Y, Cai Y, Meng L, Liu Y, Lv N, Liu Z, Yuan W

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:5719-5724

Published Date: 12 November 2012

Cross-linked acrylic hydrogel for the controlled delivery of hydrophobic drugs in cancer therapy

Deepa G, Thulasidasan AK, Anto RJ, Pillai JJ, Kumar GS

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:4077-4088

Published Date: 27 July 2012

Crystallization after intravitreal ganciclovir injection

Pitipol Choopong, Nattaporn Tesavibul, Nattawut Rodanant

Clinical Ophthalmology 2010, 4:709-711

Published Date: 14 July 2010