Background: After an acute cardiac event, adhering to recommendations for pharmacologic therapy is important in achieving optimal health outcomes. Considering the impressive evidence base for cardiovascular pharmacotherapy, strategies for promoting adherence are less well developed. Furthermore, accessing reliable, valid, and cost-effective mechanisms of monitoring adherence in the research and clinical settings is challenging.
Aim: The aim of this article was to review published self-report measures assessing and monitoring medication adherence in cardiovascular disease and provide recommendations for research into medication adherence.
Methods: The electronic databases CINAHL, Medline, and Science Direct were searched using the key search terms medication adherence and/or compliance, cardiovascular, self-report measures, and questionnaires. The World Wide Web was searched using the Google and Google Scholar search engines, and reference lists of retrieved documents were reviewed. The search strategy was verified by a health librarian. Instruments were included if they specifically addressed medication adherence as a discrete construct rather than a disease-specific or a generic health status measurement.
Findings: Despite of the problems with medication adherence identified in the literature, only 7 instruments met the search criteria. There was limited use of instruments across studies and settings to enable comparison across populations and extensive psychometric evaluation.
Conclusions: Medication adherence is a complex, multifaceted construct dependent on a range of physical, social, economic, and psychological considerations. In spite of the importance of adherence in ensuring optimal cardiovascular outcomes, conceptual underpinnings and methods of assessing medication adherence require further discussion and debate.