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Ann Pharmacother. 2003 Jul-Aug;37(7-8):962-9.

Improving adherence and reducing medication discrepancies in patients with diabetes.

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  • 1General Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114-2517, USA.



To improve medication adherence by reducing self-reported adherence barriers, and to identify medication discrepancies by comparing physician-prescribed and patient-reported medical regimens.


Prospective, randomized, controlled trial.


A single academically affiliated community health center. Eligible patients had type 2 diabetes, had undergone laboratory testing in the year preceding the study, and had visited the clinic in the 6 months preceding the study.


A pharmacist administered detailed questionnaires, provided tailored education regarding medication use and help with appointment referrals, and created a summary of adherence barriers and medication discrepancies that was entered into the medical record and electronically forwarded to the primary care provider.


Changes in self-reported adherence rates and barriers were compared 3 months after the initial interview. Intervention patients with medication discrepancies at baseline were assessed for resolution of discrepancies at 3 months.


Rates of self-reported medication adherence were very high and did not improve further at 3 months (6.9 of 7 d, with all medicines taken as prescribed; p = 0.3). Medical regimen discrepancies were identified in 44% of intervention patients, involving 45 doses of medicines. At 3-month follow-up, 60% of discrepancies were resolved by corrections in the medical record, while only 7% reflected corrections by patients.


In this community cohort, patients reported few adherence barriers and very high medication adherence rates. Our patient-tailored intervention did not further reduce these barriers or improve self-reported adherence. The high prevalence of medication discrepancies appeared to mostly reflect inaccuracies in the medical record rather than patient errors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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