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Ars Pharmaceutica (Internet)

On-line version ISSN 2340-9894


PAGES-PUIGDEMONT, Neus  and  VALVERDE-MERINO, M. Isabel. Methods to assess medication adherence. Ars Pharm [online]. 2018, vol.59, n.3, pp.163-172.  Epub Oct 19, 2020. ISSN 2340-9894.


To describe the most important methods of assessing medication adherence and to determine what methods can be used in the Community Pharmacy daily clinical practice.


A non-systematic search of the most relevant research articles published on the subject was performed in the National Library of Medicine database, Washington, DC (MEDLINE: PubMed).


The methods available for measuring adherence can be classified into direct and indirect methods. Direct measures include measurement of the drug or its metabolite concentration in a biological sample and directly observed therapy. Indirect methods include asking the patient (or using a self-report adherence scale), performing pill counts, using of electronic devices and checking rates of refilling prescriptions. The collection of patient’s self-reports questionnaires is a very useful, simple and inexpensive method in clinical settings. Among all the existing questionnaires, the choice of one against another will be based on patient’s illness and according to what has to be measured (patient’s medication-taking behavior, barriers or beliefs associated with adherence)


There are multiple and different methods for assessing therapeutic adherence. None of them is considered the gold standard. For this reason, it is recommended to use several methods. The most feasible options in Community Pharmacy daily clinical practice are the utilization of self-report medication adherence scales and analysis of refilling prescriptions.

Keywords : adherence; assessment methods; measure; evaluation.

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