by Anna Seward
A course of ‘adherence therapy’ could boost the number of people who take their blood pressure medication correctly, new research suggests.
Around half of people with persistent high blood pressure or ‘hypertension’ do not take their medication as prescribed, according to scientists at the University of East Anglia.
But their latest study suggests the issue could be addressed by enrolling new patients onto a seven-week course of face-to-face sessions with a trained clinician.
The researchers studied 136 patients, all of whom attended outpatient clinics in Jordan.
Half were assigned to 20-minute adherence therapy sessions, once a week for seven weeks; the other half were not invited to take part.
Analysis revealed that patients who attended the sessions – which focused on the illness and its treatment, as well as patients’ individual beliefs and lifestyle – were much more likely to take their medication correctly.
Overall, patients who completed adherence therapy took 97 per cent of their drugs and reduced their blood pressure by around 14 per cent, on average.
In contrast, those who did not attend the sessions only took 71 per cent of their medication.
Lead author Professor Richard Gray, whose findings are published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, said: “Our findings suggest a clear clinical benefit in these patient-centred sessions.
“Tackling the widespread failure to take medication correctly would lead to a major reduction in stroke and heart disease.”
Amy Thompson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said that healthcare professionals should think about the possible barriers that may prevent people from taking their medication correctly.
She stressed: “If you’re taking medicines it’s vital you take them exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
“You could be putting your health – or even your life – at risk if you don’t.”
Ms Thompson added that anyone with concerns or doubts about their medication should talk to their GP.