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Improving post-discharge medication adherence in patients with CVD: a pilot randomized trial.

  • Author(s): Oliveira-Filho, Alfredo D
  • Morisky, Donald E
  • Costa, Francisco A
  • Pacheco, Sara T
  • Neves, Sabrina F
  • Lyra, Divaldo P
  • et al.


Effective interventions to improve medication adherence are usually complex and expensive.


To assess the impact of a low-cost intervention designed to improve medication adherence and clinical outcomes in post-discharge patients with CVD.


A pilot RCT was conducted at a teaching hospital. Intervention was based on the four-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-4). The primary outcome measure was medication adherence assessed using the eight-item MMAS at baseline, at 1 month post hospital discharge and re-assessed 1 year after hospital discharge. Other outcomes included readmission and mortality rates.


61 patients were randomized to intervention (n = 30) and control (n = 31) groups. The mean age of the patients was 61 years (SD 12.73), 52.5% were males, and 57.4% were married or living with a partner. Mean number of prescribed medications per patient was 4.5 (SD 3.3). Medication adherence was correlated to intervention (p = 0.04) and after 1 month, 48.4% of patients in the control group and 83.3% in the intervention group were considered adherent. However, this difference decreased after 1 year, when adherence was 34.8% and 60.9%, respectively. Readmission and mortality rates were related to low adherence in both groups.


The intervention based on a validated patient self-report instrument for assessing adherence is a potentially effective method to improve adherent behavior and can be successfully used as a tool to guide adherence counseling in the clinical visit. However, a larger study is required to assess the real impact of intervention on these outcomes.

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