For patients with substance use disorders, poor medication adherence is a cause of medical complications, increased healthcare costs, and can even lead to death for some patients. Because of these risks, healthcare providers are often hesitant to prescribe medications that require high adherence to these populations. Experts from our Clinical Pharmacy Services unit and the Center for Health Policy Research teamed up to identify best-practice guidelines healthcare providers could use when prescribing to patients with substance use disorders to ensure regimens are followed safely and judiciously.
The team reviewed articles published in Medline and PsycINFO databases between October 1994 and October 2017 to identify successful interventions that improved adherence to oral chronic disease medication regimens. A total of 854 abstracts were retrieved. They discovered many interventions that proved effective, but heterogeneity of study designs and study quality preclude determination of optimal interventions to promote adherence in this population.