Medication Adherence of Hypertensive and Diabetic Patients taking Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Intervention Study


Hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus, known as the most common comorbidities,1 are associated with increased healthcare utilization. This results to a change in mental state, physical health, behavior, attitude, habits, and knowledge that can affect a patient’s willingness and ability to adhere to a medication regimen.2 The prevalence of non-adherence to the therapy of hypertensive and diabetic patients is associated with adverse health outcomes, increased hospitalization rates, forgetfulness, limited knowledge on the indications of the conventional medicines, refusal to stop smoking, illicit drug or alcohol use,3, 4 and lack of dissemination information especially in small communities where optimal healthcare is not fully observed. Non -adherence to therapy also paved way for the patients to adhere to Complementary and alternative Medicines (CAM)5, 6 which is defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) as a group of different medical health care practices, systems, and products that are not considered to be part of the conventional medicine.”7 A study showed that the use of CAM could lower medication adherence,8, 9 however, a study stated that more educated CAM users are likely to be more adherent to their conventional medicines.10 Researchers from the University of California stressed that medication education, such as seminars and teaching of proper utilization of pillboxes, is a key factor in helping non-adherent patients to better stick to their drug treatment plans, and to eradicate barriers against information dissemination.11 Medication adherence education would help expand the views of each person on medication adherence, and is an open opportunity at improving the pharmaceutical care to prevent further complications that may arise with non-adherence. Through medication adherence education, patients who are concurrently using CAM will have an increased adherence to conventional medications,10 will be more knowledgeable regarding the importance of balancing the use of CAM 12 while adhering to therapy, and the patient-pharmacist relationship will further be strengthened.11 This study sought to determine the most prevalent complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) used by hypertensive and diabetic respondents, to ascertain if there is a relationship between medication adherence and attitude towards CAM use between the respondents, and to assess whether medication adherence seminar significantly increased the medication adherence of hypertensive and diabetic patients using CAM with their prescribed maintenance medications. (full download)