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      Medication adherence in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus treated at primary health clinics in Malaysia

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          Diabetes mellitus is a growing global health problem that affects patients of all ages. Even though diabetes mellitus is recognized as a major chronic illness, adherence to antidiabetic medicines has often been found to be unsatisfactory. This study was conducted to assess adherence to medications and to identify factors that are associated with nonadherence in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients at Primary Health Clinics of the Ministry of Health in Malaysia.

          Materials and methods

          The cross-sectional survey was carried out among T2DM patients to assess adherence to medication in primary health clinics. Adherence was measured by using the Medication Compliance Questionnaire that consists of a total of seven questions. Other data, such as patient demographics, treatment, outcome, and comorbidities were also collected from patient medical records.


          A total of 557 patients were recruited in the study. Approximately 53% of patients in the study population were nonadherent. Logistic regression analysis was performed to predict the factors associated with nonadherence. Variables associated with nonadherence were age, odds ratio 0.967 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.948–0.986); medication knowledge, odds ratio 0.965 (95% CI: 0.946–0.984); and comorbidities, odds ratio 1.781 (95% CI: 1.064–2.981).


          Adherence to medication in T2DM patients in the primary health clinics was found to be poor. This is a cause of concern, because nonadherence could lead to a worsening of disease. Improving medication knowledge by paying particular attention to different age groups and patients with comorbidities could help improve adherence.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Adherence to medication.

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            Concurrent and predictive validity of a self-reported measure of medication adherence.

            Adherence to the medical regimen continues to rank as a major clinical problem in the management of patients with essential hypertension, as in other conditions treated with drugs and life-style modification. This article reviews the psychometric properties and tests the concurrent and predictive validity of a structured four-item self-reported adherence measure (alpha reliability = 0.61), which can be easily integrated into the medical visit. Items in the scale address barriers to medication-taking and permit the health care provider to reinforce positive adherence behaviors. Data on patient adherence to the medical regimen were collected at the end of a formalized 18-month educational program. Blood pressure measurements were recorded throughout a 3-year follow-up period. Results showed the scale to demonstrate both concurrent and predictive validity with regard to blood pressure control at 2 years and 5 years, respectively. Seventy-five percent of the patients who scored high on the four-item scale at year 2 had their blood pressure under adequate control at year 5, compared with 47% under control at year 5 for those patients scoring low (P less than 0.01).
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              A systematic review of adherence with medications for diabetes.

               Robert Cramer (2004)
              The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which patients omit doses of medications prescribed for diabetes. A literature search (1966-2003) was performed to identify reports with quantitative data on adherence with oral hypoglycemic agents (OHAs) and insulin and correlations between adherence rates and glycemic control. Adequate documentation of adherence was found in 15 retrospective studies of OHA prescription refill rates, 5 prospective electronic monitoring OHA studies, and 3 retrospective insulin studies. Retrospective analyses showed that adherence to OHA therapy ranged from 36 to 93% in patients remaining on treatment for 6-24 months. Prospective electronic monitoring studies documented that patients took 67-85% of OHA doses as prescribed. Electronic monitoring identified poor compliers for interventions that improved adherence (61-79%; P < 0.05). Young patients filled prescriptions for one-third of prescribed insulin doses. Insulin adherence among patients with type 2 diabetes was 62-64%. This review confirms that many patients for whom diabetes medication was prescribed were poor compliers with treatment, including both OHAs and insulin. However, electronic monitoring systems were useful in improving adherence for individual patients. Similar electronic monitoring systems for insulin administration could help healthcare providers determine patients needing additional support.

                Author and article information

                Patient Prefer Adherence
                Patient Prefer Adherence
                Patient preference and adherence
                Dove Medical Press
                17 June 2013
                : 7
                : 525-530
                [1 ]Pharmaceutical Services Division, Ministry of Health, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
                [2 ]Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Thomas Paraidathathu, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz 50300, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel +603 9289 7484 Fax +603 2698 3271 Email thomas@
                © 2013 Ahmad et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Original Research


                primary care, glycemic control, adherence, type 2 diabetes mellitus


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