A systematic review of interventions to enhance medication adherence in children and adolescents with chronic illness

Dean, Angela J., Walters, Julie, & Hall, Anthony (2010) A systematic review of interventions to enhance medication adherence in children and adolescents with chronic illness. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 95(9), pp. 717-723.

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Poor medication adherence is common in children and adolescents with chronic illness, but there is uncertainty about the best way to enhance medication adherence in this group. The authors conducted a systematic review of controlled trials examining interventions that aim to improve medication adherence.


A comprehensive literature search was undertaken to locate controlled trials that described specific interventions aiming to improve adherence to long-term medication, where participants were aged 18 years and under, medication adherence was reported as an outcome measure, and which could be implemented by individual health practitioners. Studies were reviewed for quality and outcome.


17 studies met inclusion criteria: seven studies examined educational strategies, seven studies examined behavioural interventions and three studies examined educational intervention combined with other forms of psychological therapies. Only two of seven studies reported a clear benefit for education on medication adherence, whereas four of seven trials indicated a benefit of behavioural approaches on medication adherence. One trial reported that combining education with behavioural management may be more effective than education alone. Studies which combined education with other non-medication specific psychological interventions failed to demonstrate a beneficial effect on medication adherence. Only two studies examined adherence-promoting interventions in young people with established adherence problems.


These findings suggest that education interventions alone are insufficient to promote adherence in children and adolescents, and that incorporating a behavioural component to adherence interventions may increase potential efficacy. Future research should examine interventions in high-risk groups.

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ID Code: 84376
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1136/adc.2009.175125
ISSN: 1468-2044
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 20 May 2015 05:09
Last Modified: 26 May 2015 04:25

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