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A systematic review and thematic synthesis of patients’ experience of medicines adherence

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Adam RathboneORCiD, Professor Adam ToddORCiD, Professor Andy HusbandORCiD


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© 2016 Elsevier Inc. Background Medicines non-adherence continues to be problematic in health care practice. After decades of research, few interventions have a robust evidence-based demonstrating their applicability to improve adherence. Phenomenology has a place within the health care research environment. Objective To explore patients’ lived experiences of medicines adherence reported in the phenomenonologic literature. Methods A systematic literature search was conducted to identify peer-reviewed and published phenomenological investigations in adults that aimed to investigate patients’ lived experiences of medicines adherence. Studies were appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) Qualitative Research Tool. Thematic synthesis was conducted using a combination of manual coding and NVivo10 [QSR International, Melbourne] coding to aid data management. Results Descriptive themes identified included i) dislike for medicines, ii) survival, iii) perceived need, including a) symptoms and side-effects and b) cost, and iv) routine. Analytic themes identified were i) identity and ii) interaction. Conclusions This work describes adherence as a social interaction between the identity of patients and medicines, mediated by interaction with family, friends, health care professionals, the media and the medicine, itself. Health care professionals and policy makers should seek to re-locate adherence as a social phenomenon, directing the development of interventions to exploit patient interaction with wider society, such that patients ‘get to know’ their medicines, and how they can be taken, throughout the life of the patient and the prescription.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rathbone AP, Todd A, Jamie K, Bonam M, Banks L, Husband AK

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy

Year: 2017

Volume: 13

Issue: 3

Pages: 403-439

Print publication date: 01/05/2017

Online publication date: 23/06/2016

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (electronic): 1551-7411

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2016.06.004