Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira (English Edition) Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira (English Edition)
Rev Assoc Med Bras. 2013;59:614-21 - Vol. 59 Num.06

Assessment of adherence in elderly patients in primary care

Antônio Augusto Schmitt Júnior a, Stéphanie Lindner a, Ernani Tiaraju de Santa Helena a

a Universidade Regional de Blumenau, Blumenau, SC, Brazil


Aged. Medication adherence. Primary healthcare. Health services accessibility


Objective: To identify the prevalence of non-adherence to drug therapy for elderly patients in primary care in Blumenau, SC, Brazil.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional, population-based epidemiological study. A  randomly selected sample of users who attended the pharmacies of 14 units of primary healthcare answered the questionnaire's study variables. The prevalence of non-adherence was measured using a self-reported questionnaire. A logistic regression model to calculate odds ratio was performed to estimate the association between risk factors and non-adherence.

Results: Of the 151 elderly individuals interviewed, 84.1% reported continuous use of their medicines. The average age of the participants was 69.04 years. Regarding the characteristics of the medications, an average of 4.3 medicines were used by the elderly, and diseases of the circulatory system were the most prominent (43.3%). The prevalence of non-adherence was 35.4%. Logistic regression showed an association between non-adherence and "prior stopping treatment because of lack of medication" and "inappropriately prescribed medication use" (p < 0.005).

Conclusion: The results reinforce the need to improve public policy and management processes aimed at ensuring people's access to essential medicines and qualify the process of prescribing health professionals as a way to improve treatment adherence in the elderly.