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


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. (, number ISRCTN38274953.).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-368
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Stroke
  • Adherence
  • Medication beliefs
  • Implementation intentions
  • Antihypertensives
  • BIG

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