Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 213–224 | Cite as

The impact of medication regimen factors on adherence to chronic treatment: a review of literature

  • Karen S. IngersollEmail author
  • Jessye Cohen


This article reviews recent literature in chronic illness or long-term health management including asthma, contraception, diabetes, HIV disease, and hypertension/cardiovascular disease, mental disorders, pain, and other diseases to determine the relationship between regimen factors and adherence to medications. The authors conducted an electronic literature search to detect articles published between 1998 and 2007. Articles were included if they pertained to a chronic illness or to contraception, included a clear definition of how adherence was measured, and included regimen factors as primary or secondary explanatory variables. Methodology of the studies varied greatly, as did methods of measuring adherence and regimen factors. Surprisingly few of these articles concerned (1) chronic treatment, (2) regimen factors such as dosing, pill burden, and regimen complexity, and (3) adherence measured in a clear manner. Most studies failed to use state-of-the-art methods of measuring adherence. Despite these flaws, a suggestive pattern of the importance of regimen factors, specifically dose frequency and regimen complexity, emerged from this review.


Medication compliance Adherence Chronic illness HIV/AIDS 



This article was prepared with the support of NIMH K01 MH01688 and NIDA R01 DA 016554. We wish to thank Leah Farrell, M.S., for research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral ScienceUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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