Adherence therapy improves medication adherence and quality of life in people with Parkinson's disease: a randomised controlled trial


  • Disclosures No author reports conflict of interest.



Many factors are associated with medication non-adherence in Parkinson's disease (PD), including complex treatment regimens, mood disorders and impaired cognition. However, interventions to improve adherence which acknowledge such factors are lacking. A phase II randomised controlled trial was conducted investigating whether Adherence Therapy (AT) improves medication adherence and quality of life (QoL) compared with routine care (RC) in PD.


Eligible PD patients and their spouse/carers were randomised to intervention (RC plus AT) or control (RC alone). Primary outcomes were change in adherence (Morisky Medication Adherence Scale) and QoL (Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-39) from baseline to week-12 follow up. Secondary outcomes were MDS-UPDRS (part I, II, IV), Beliefs about Medication Questionnaire (BMQ), EuroQol (EQ-5D) and the Caregiving Distress Scale. Blinded data were analysed using logistic and linear regression models based on the intention-to-treat principle.


Seventy-six patients and 46 spouse/carers completed the study (intervention: n = 38 patients, n = 24 spouse/carers). At week-12 AT significantly improved adherence compared with RC (OR 8.2; 95% CI: 2.8, 24.3). Numbers needed to treat (NNT) were 2.2 (CI: 1.6, 3.9). Compared with RC, AT significantly improved PDQ-39 (−9.0 CI: −12.2, −5.8), BMQ general harm (−1.0 CI: −1.9, −0.2) and MDS-UPDRS part II (−4.8 CI: −8.1, −1.4). No significant interaction was observed between the presence of a spouse/carer and the effect of AT.


Adherence Therapy improved self-reported adherence and QoL in a PD sample. The small NNT suggests AT may be cost-effective. A larger pragmatic trial to test the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of AT by multiple therapists is required.