Can Text Messages Improve Chronic Disease Medication Adherence?

Study examines impact of text message reminders to improve drug adherence.

A meta-analysis found an association between medication adherence and text message alerts.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney and published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

In order to assess the effects text messaging can have on medication adherence in chronic disease, researchers analyzed 16 randomized clinical trials.

Although the results of the study suggest that there is an association between text messaging and increased odds of medication adherence, future studies need to be done that focus on appropriate patient populations, longevity of the effect, and influence on clinical outcomes, the researchers found.

This is due to the reliance on self-reported medication adherence, as the authors advise caution be taken when interpreting these results.

“In summary, future adherence research needs to overcome the common methodological pitfalls that are still plaguing the field,” the authors wrote. “As Thakkar et al show, TM (text messaging) has potential as a widespread, low-cost technology but will need more development and rigorous testing to determine if it has real, enduring and patient-important benefits that are worth the investment.”