While medications adherence is important topic in medical community it is even more critical in clinical research. Accumulation of missed doses and unplanned dose interruptions in clinical trials could affect the product characteristics and data integrity. 

What are the theories of adherence?

Here we can use some examples of the leading theories for medications adherence.

Health Belief Model – This is one of the most used models, which suggest that if people belief their condition is serious and there will be a benefit of changing their behavior, they are more likely to adhere to their treatment and be more engaged with health care providers.

For example, if the person does not consider flu as serious condition, they will be less likely to have a flu vaccine and seek medical advice. 

Theories of Reasoned Action is a theory which suggests that stronger intentions lead to increased effort to perform the behavior.

For example, if HIV positive person believes starting early treatment will be beneficial for them and they interact with people who support such move, they will be more likely to seek medical help and start therapy early.

Planned Behavior – according to that theory attitude toward behavior, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control, together shape an individual’s behavioral intentions and behaviors.

For example, if patient with mental disease is motivated to start treatment and they have the support of their family they are more likely to seek medical help and start treatment.

Transtheoretical Model – this model describes how people modify problem behavior or acquire a positive behavior. 

For example, newly diagnosed cancer patient is more likely to stop smoking if they believe this will be beneficial for their treatment and if they receive adequate support from family and friends.

Social Cognitive Theory – according to this theory when people observe a model performing a behavior and the consequences of that behavior, they remember the sequence of events and use this information to guide subsequent behaviors.

For example, patients with diabetes could benefit in changing their behavior if they know person with controlled diabetes who is maintaining proper diet and stick to their treatment.

What are the other important factors in medications adherence?

Unfortunately medications adherence is a complex issue and there are many aspects that influence medications adherence. There are ethnical, cultural, socioeconomic and many more factors that could affect adherence. 

What kind of approaches could be used in clinical trials?

  • The first and most important approach is health care staff to find the time to educate their patients who participate in clinical trials about the importance to adhere to their treatment.
  • In chronic diseases patients who participate in clinical trials could be a role model and advocates for clinical research. They could help in motivating new patients to adhere to their treatment.
  • Therapeutic area awareness programs in different communities and socioeconomic groups could help educate people about clinical research and motive them to adhere to their treatment.

Author: Olga Peycheva

Olga is a clinical research professional who has been working in clinical research since 2005. She has extensive experience in clinical research in Eastern and Western Europe. 

Originally published on 2 Aug 2016