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Int J Nurs Stud. 2008 Oct;45(10):1550-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2008.02.009.

Older people and adherence with medication: a review of the literature.

Author information

  • 1Brunel University, School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Uxbridge UB8 3PH, UK. maggi.banning@brunel.ac.uk



Older people represent a sizeable population of the UK. Many older people receive drug treatment for long-term conditions. Adherence with medication is therefore an important clinical, financial and resource intensive concern.


This review aimed to examine patient's beliefs, perceptions and views in relation to adherence with medication.


A comprehensive search of the literature was undertaken using numerous approaches. The search of revealed 30 research papers.


Articles were initially evaluated using Critical Appraisal Skills Programme principles to identify those relevant to the review. Relevant studies were then subjected to a narrative analysis to assist the development of relevant themes. Four themes were identified; experience of adherence; perceptions and attitudes to medication adherence and non-adherence; patients acceptance of their illness and impact on medication taking behaviour and shared decision making.


The findings of this review imply that there is a need for more emphasis on shared decision making between the older patient and the prescriber. Using this approach, adherence with medication may improve. There is also a need to develop a standardized measure of medication adherence.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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