Improving adherence to medication in stroke survivors: a pilot randomised controlled trial

Ronan E. O'Carroll*, Julie A. Chambers, Martin Dennis, Cathie Sudlow, Marie Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Adherence to preventive medication is often poor, and current interventions have had limited success.
This study was conducted to pilot a randomised controlled trial aimed at increasing adherence to preventive medication in stroke survivors using a brief, personalised intervention.
Sixty-two stroke survivors were randomly allocated to either a two-session intervention aimed at increasing adherence via (a) introducing a plan linked to environmental cues (implementation intentions) to help establish a better medication-taking routine (habit) and (b) eliciting and modifying any mistaken patient beliefs regarding medication/stroke or a control group. Primary outcome was adherence to antihypertensive medication measured objectively over 3 months using an electronic pill bottle.
Fifty-eight people used the pill bottle and were analysed as allocated; 54 completed treatment. The intervention resulted in 10 % more doses taken on schedule (intervention, 97 %; control, 87 %; 95 % CI for difference (0.2, 16.2); p = 0.048).
A simple, brief intervention increased medication adherence in stroke survivors, over and above any effect of increased patient contact or mere measurement. (http://​controlled-trials.​com, number ISRCTN38274953.)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-368
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date14 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • stroke
  • adherence
  • medication beliefs
  • implementation intentions
  • antihypertensives


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