Medication Adherence

As former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said “Drugs don’t work if patients don’t take them.”  Reasons for medication nonadherence include complex dosing regimens, poor health professional–patient communication, use of hard-copy prescriptions, and the cost of medication.

Numerous strategies, including educating patients, simplifying treatment, and coordinating patient care across the health care team, can improve adherence.

Featured Tools

Medication Adherence: Action Steps for Public Health Practitioners

Medication Adherence: Action Steps for Public Health Practitioners

This guide provides a call to action for public health practitioners to support evidence- and practice- based medication adherence strategies that improve blood pressure control. Additional resources and references for each action step are also included in this guide.


Medication Adherence: Action Steps for Health Benefit Managers

Medication Adherence: Action Steps for Health Benefit Managers

This guide provides a call to action for health, employer, and pharmacy benefit managers to implement evidence- and practice-based medication adherence strategies that improve blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation. Additional resources and references for each action step are also included in the guide.


Medication Adherence: Interactive Module for Health Care Providers

Medication Adherence: Interactive Module for Health Care Providers

This online module from the American Medical Association provides eight steps to improve medication adherence. Moving through the module, providers can find answers to common questions about how to involve staff and patients in identifying nonadherence and changing behaviors.

Medication Adherence Video for Professionals

Medication Adherence Video: Help Patients Take Blood Pressure Medicine As Directed

One major cause of ineffective blood pressure control is poor medication adherence, or patients not taking their medications at the right time and in the right amount. Learn strategies to help your patients improve their blood pressure control.

Medication Adherence Video for Consumers

Medication Adherence Video: Tips for Taking Blood Pressure Medicines As Directed

High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the leading causes of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and death in the United States. One major cause of poor blood pressure control is not taking medications at the right time and in the right amount. Learn the steps you can take to help you or your loved ones.

Tip Sheets

Easy to use fact sheets for patients, families, and providers on addressing and achieving high blood pressure control.

For Providers

Cover of Patient Visit Checklist: Supporting Your Patients with High Blood Pressure

Patient Visit Checklist: Supporting Your Patients with High Blood Pressure

Effective provider-patient communication improves health outcomes and saves time. Use this checklist with sample questions to communicate better with your patients during every visit.

Cover of Improving Medication Adherence Among Patients with Hypertension

Improving Medication Adherence Among Patients with Hypertension

Medication adherence is critical to successful hypertension control for most patients. Find out how you can help.

For Patients and Families

Cover of Improving Medication Adherence Among Patients with Hypertension

How to Make Control Your Goal
Cómo hacer que controlarla sea su meta

Share these hypertension control tip sheets with your patients to encourage them to make control their goal.

Cover of Supporting Your Loved One with High Blood Pressure

Supporting Your Loved One with High Blood Pressure
Cómo apoyar a un ser querido con presión arterial alta

Caregivers and family members play an important role in keeping hypertension under control.

References and Resources

  • Overcoming Barriers to Medication Adherence for Chronic Diseases
    February 2017
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosted a Public Health Grand Rounds. The webcast featured a panel of leaders in pharmacy, nursing, medicine, and academia who highlighted the burden of medication nonadherence and barriers for adherence among patients with cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Watch the archived webcast.
  • Factors That Promote Antihypertensive Medication Adherence, 2009 vs. 2014 [PDF-1M]
    This data snapshot shows improvements and areas for improvement in trends for antihypertensive medicine (AHM) and compares the number of AHM fills with low or no copays for that period.  Million Hearts®, September 2016)
  • High Blood Pressure: Medicines to Help You [PDF-539K]
    This booklet lists every medicine approved to treat high blood pressure, along with side effects, warnings, and other information. The booklet is designed to initiate conversations between providers and patients. (Food and Drug Administration, May 2011)

Success Stories

Several Million Hearts® partners and programs have demonstrated success in helping patients improve medication adherence. Read more about these strategies and programs.

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