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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2007 Apr 17;88(1):54-63. Epub 2006 Oct 23.

Voucher reinforcement improves medication adherence in HIV-positive methadone patients: a randomized trial.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco General Hospital, Building 20, Ward 21, 1001 Potrero Avenue, Box 0852, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.


This clinical trial evaluated a contingency management intervention designed to improve medication adherence among HIV-positive methadone maintenance patients. After a 4-week baseline observation phase, eligible participants (N=66) were randomly assigned to: (a) medication coaching sessions every other week to assist with adherence strategies (comparison group) or (b) medication coaching plus voucher reinforcement for opening electronic medication caps on time (voucher group). Baseline adherence (percent doses taken/percent total possible doses) was 51% using electronic measurement, 75% using self-report and 75% using pill count. The intervention was provided for 12 weeks, with a 4-week follow-up. The primary outcome results of the clinical trial indicated effectiveness during the intervention, with significant mean adherence differences between voucher and comparison groups using electronic measurement (78% versus 56%), pill count (86% versus 75%), and self-report (87% versus 69%). Differences between groups faded after vouchers were discontinued. Contingency management shows promise as a strategy to promote antiretroviral medication adherence in this population.

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