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blood pressure

Follow directions carefully while taking blood pressure medications

Follow directions carefully while taking blood pressure medications

An invited health news highlight written by Fadwa Alhalaiqa and Professor Richard Gray, Ph.D. from The Faculty of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.Reviewed by Shambhunath Choudhary, Ph.D.

Health News Highlights (February 29, 2012) <<<Print PDF >>>

In order to effectively control the blood pressure, patients need to take medication as their doctors prescribe (adherence). In other words, if the patient does not take medications as their doctor prescribes (non-adherence), their blood pressure will not be effectively controlled. Patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure are at higher risk of complications such as heart attacks and strokes.

Follow directions carefully while taking blood pressure medications

Follow directions carefully while taking blood pressure medications

Factors to consider when designing an effective adherence behavior

Available scientific evidence suggests that, in order to design an effective strategy to improve patient’s adherence to the medications prescribed, the factors shown in the above figure should be taken in to consideration.

It is important that patients have positive attitudes towards the prescribed medications in order to be effectively benefitted. If patients do not believe that their health depends on medicines, are not confident that the medicines will work, or are too much concerned about medicinal side effects, they are less likely to stick to the treatment regime than the patients with more positive attitudes towards their prescribed medications. Thus, adherence therapy is an effective strategy to guide patients to achieve effective benefits form the indicated medication.

In summary, adherence therapy is a patient-centered consultation designed to explore their negative views, attitudes, and beliefs toward medication. Adherence therapy is delivered by trained therapists over seven sessions (20 min/once a week). The therapist assesses the patient’s concerns and the barriers that affect their medicine-intake behavior. Then they use different strategies, such as generating discrepancies, solving problems, exploring attitudes, and resolving ambivalence that help patients to determine the relevant benefits of their medications and modify negative beliefs which in turn enhance the adherence to their medications.

Does adherence therapy have a positive effect on patients taking anti-hypertensive medications?

We published our findings originally in the Journal of Human Hypertension. In summary, a total 136 hypertensive patients, who were noncompliant to their medications, participated in our study and were divided into two groups: one group received adherence therapy and the other group continued receiving their usual care. We assessed their beliefs and blood pressure at the beginning of the study and after 11 weeks. We found that in patients who received adherence therapy- blood pressure was reduced, negative attitudes and beliefs toward medications became more positive, and the total number of medications taken was increased.

Can we use adherence therapy for other chronic diseases?

Since the factors that affecting adherence behaviour among hypertensive patients are very similar to those affecting people with other chronic diseases, it is highly likely that adherence therapy could be used more widely to enhance patient’s adherence to medications in other chronic disease conditions.

This information is primarily based on the following article published in Journal of Human Hypertension. Some general background information was acquired from PubMed sources. Alhalaiqa et al., Adherence therapy for medication non-compliant patients with hypertension: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of Human Hypertension (2012) 26, 117–126; doi:10.1038/jhh.2010.133; published online 17 February 2011

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