Research database

This Research Database has been developed by HCPC Europe to create an overview of the available research in the field of patient-friendly and adherence packaging. The database is for all members of HCPC Europe. Members can register as a user to get access to the database. Is your organisation not a member yet? Then please register your organisation as a member or contact our Executive Director Ger Standhardt for more information.

Interventions to Improve Adherence in Patients with Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Disorders: A Systematic Review


In patients with immune-mediated inflammatory disorders, poor adherence to medication is associated with increased healthcare costs, decreased patient satisfaction, reduced quality of life and unfavorable treatment outcomes.


To determine the impact of different interventions on medication adherence in patients with immune-mediated inflammatory disorder

Electronic medication packaging devices and medication adherence: A systematic review

Importance  Medication nonadherence, which has been estimated to affect 28% to 31% of US patients with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes, may be improved by electronic medication packaging (EMP) devices (adherence-monitoring devices incorporated into the packaging of a prescription medication).

Objectives  To investigate whether EMP devices are associated with improved adherence and to identify and describe common features of EMP devices.

Evidence Review  Systematic review of peer-reviewed studies testing the effectiveness of EMP systems in the MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, and Sociological Abstracts databases from searches conducted to June 13, 2014, with extraction of associations between the interventions and adherence, as well as other key findings. Each study was assessed for bias using the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions; features of EMP devices and interventions were qualitatively assessed.

Findings  Thirty-seven studies (32 randomized and 5 nonrandomized) including 4326 patients met inclusion criteria (10 patient interface–only “simple” interventions and 29 “complex” interventions integrated into the health care system [2 qualified for both categories]). Overall, the effect estimates for differences in mean adherence ranged from a decrease of 2.9% to an increase of 34.0%, and the those for differences in the proportion of patients defined as adherent ranged from a decrease of 8.0% to an increase of 49.5%. We identified 5 common EMP characteristics: recorded dosing events and stored records of adherence, audiovisual reminders to cue dosing, digital displays, real-time monitoring, and feedback on adherence performance.

Conclusions and Relevance  Many varieties of EMP devices exist. However, data supporting their use are limited, with variability in the quality of studies testing EMP devices. Devices integrated into the care delivery system and designed to record dosing events are most frequently associated with improved adherence, compared with other devices. Higher-quality evidence is needed to determine the effect, if any, of these low-cost interventions on medication nonadherence and to identify their most useful components.

Medication packaging and older patients: A systematic review

The global challenges posed by demographic change call for more senior‐friendly medication packaging. This paper presents a comprehensive integrated view and synthesis of the literature on medication packaging and older people. Considering the multidisciplinary nature of the research field, a systematic review was conducted in four databases (Scopus, Web of Science, Medline and Engineering Village), limited to original research studies containing empirical data and English‐language papers, published until January 2015. Manual reference mining was carried out for other relevant papers, and a critical appraisal methodology was applied to judge the quality of the papers. In total, 34 studies are fully reviewed and classified according to the main characteristics of the studies, information about older patients and impact of the packaging on medication use. As a result, the review indicates the literature to be fragmented and diverse yet composed of two major interconnected research streams (physical functionality and user capability; medication management) and orientations (packaging; user). The physical functionality and user capability stream of research with a packaging orientation addresses child‐resistant containers (CRCs), whereas the user‐oriented studies address openability, i.e. the ease of opening the medication. In contrast, the medication management stream of research with a packaging orientation focuses on the adherence outcomes of different package aids, whereas the user‐oriented studies focus on the counselling provided by healthcare professionals and coping strategies for older patients to handle the packages. These original findings provide valuable input to researchers and practitioners and offer guidance for the further development of medication packaging.


Interventions for enhancing medication adherence

Ways to help people follow prescribed medicines

Background Patients who are prescribed medicines take only about half of their doses and many stop treatment entirely. Assisting patients to adhere better to medicines could improve their health, and many studies have tested ways to achieve this.

Question We updated our review from 2007 to answer the question: What are the findings of high‐quality studies that tested ways to assist patients with adhering to their medicines?

Search strategy We retrieved studies published until 11 January 2013. To find relevant studies we searched six online databases and references in other reviews, and we contacted authors of relevant studies and reviews.

Selection criteria We selected studies reporting a randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing a group receiving an intervention to improve medicine adherence with a group not receiving the intervention. We included trials if they measured both medicine adherence and a clinical outcome (e.g. blood pressure), with at least 80% of patients studied until the end.

Main results The studies differed widely regarding included patients, treatments, adherence intervention types, medicine adherence measurement, and clinical outcomes. Therefore, we could not combine the results in statistical analysis to reach general conclusions, as it would be misleading to suggest that they are comparable. Instead, we provide the key features and findings of each study in tables, and we describe intervention effects in studies of the highest quality. The present update included 109 new studies, bringing the total number to 182. In the 17 studies of the highest quality, interventions were generally complex with several different ways to try to improve medicine adherence. These frequently included enhanced support from family, peers, or allied health professionals such as pharmacists, who often delivered education, counseling, or daily treatment support. Only five of these RCTs improved both medicine adherence and clinical outcomes, and no common characteristics for their success could be identified. Overall, even the most effective interventions did not lead to large improvements.

Authors’ conclusions Characteristics and effects of interventions to improve medicine adherence varied among studies. It is uncertain how medicine adherence can consistently be improved so that the full health benefits of medicines can be realized. We need more advanced methods for researching ways to improve medicine adherence, including better interventions, better ways of measuring adherence, and studies that include sufficient patients to draw conclusions on clinically important effects.

Adherence to long term therapy, evidence for action

This report provides a critical review of what is known about adherence to long-term therapies. This is achieved by looking beyond individual diseases. By including communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome;mental and neurological conditions such as depression and epilepsy; substance dependence (exemplified by smoking cessation); as well as hypertension, asthma and palliative care for cancer, a broad range of policy options emerges. Furthermore, this broader focus highlights certain common issues that need to be addressed with respect to all chronic conditions regardless of their cause.These are primarily related to the way in which health systems are structured, financed and operated.