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J Asthma. 2014 Jun;51(5):536-43. doi: 10.3109/02770903.2014.888572. Epub 2014 Feb 13.

Patient reminder systems and asthma medication adherence: a systematic review.

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College of Medicine, University of Vermont , Burlington, VT , USA .



One of the most common reasons for medication non-adherence for asthma patients is forgetfulness. Daily medication reminder system interventions in the form of text messages, automated phone calls and audiovisual reminder devices can potentially address this problem. The aim of this review was to assess the effectiveness of reminder systems on patient daily asthma medication adherence.


We conducted a systematic review of the literature to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) which assessed the effect of reminder systems on daily asthma medication adherence. We searched all English-language articles in Pub Med (MEDLINE), CINAHL, EMBASE, PsychINFO and the Cochrane Library through May 2013. We abstracted data on the year of study publication, location, inclusion and exclusion criteria, patient characteristics, reminder system characteristics, effect on patient adherence rate and other outcomes measured. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the characteristics and results of the studies.


Five RCTs and one pragmatic RCT were included in the analysis. Median follow-up time was 16 weeks. All of the six studies suggested that the reminder system intervention was associated with greater levels of participant asthma medication adherence compared to those participants in the control group. None of the studies documented a change in asthma-related quality of life or clinical asthma outcomes.


All studies in our analysis suggest that reminder systems increase patient medication adherence, but none documented improved clinical outcomes. Further studies with longer intervention durations are needed to assess effects on clinical outcomes, as well as the sustainability of effects on patient adherence.


Asthma; cellular phone; electronic mail; patient adherence; reminder systems; telemedicine; telephone; text messaging

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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