Medication adherence: Importance, issues and policy: A policy statement from the American Heart Association

Ileana L. Piña, Katherine E. Di Palo, Marie T. Brown, Niteesh K. Choudhry, Jamie Cvengros, Deborah Whalen, Laurie P. Whitsel, Janay Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Medications do not work in patients who do not take them. This true statement highlights the importance of medication adherence. Providers are often frustrated by the lack of consistent medication adherence in the patients they care for. Today with the time constraints that providers face, it becomes difficult to discover the extent of non-adherence. There are certainly many challenges in medication adherence not only at the patient-provider level but also within a healthy system and finally in insurers and payment systems. In a cross-sectional survey of unintentional nonadherence in over 24,000 adults with chronic illness, including hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia, 62% forgot to take medications and 37% had run out of their medications within a year. These sobering data necessitate immediate policy and systems solutions to support patients in adherence. Medication adherence for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) has the potential to change outcomes, such as blood pressure control and subsequent events. The American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association (ASA) has a goal of improving medication adherence in CVD and stroke prevention and treatment. This paper will explore medication adherence with all its inherent issues and suggest policy and structural changes that must happen in order to transform medication adherence levels in the U.S. and achieve the AHA/ASA‘s health impact goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
JournalProgress in Cardiovascular Diseases
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Adherence
  • American Heart Association
  • Barriers
  • Hypertension medications
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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