Can text messaging improve medication adherence?

May 24, 2011

Text messaging and adolescents don’t always mix well, but researchers at National Jewish Health hope text messages can spur teenagers to take their asthma medications more reliably. The study is testing whether health information and medication reminders via text message will boost adolescent’s adherence to asthma medication regimens.

“We know that the combination of hectic schedules and less parental supervision can lead many teens to lack consistency in taking their daily medications,” said Daniel Searing, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at National Jewish Health.  “We also know that most teens text frequently. We want to see if providing them with asthma information and reminders helps with their .”

One of the biggest challenges doctors face caring for patients with chronic disease is making sure that the patients stay diligent about taking their daily medications. On average, asthma patients take less than half their prescribed medications. This is especially problematic with . Taking medications regularly, even when patients do not perceive symptoms, is crucial to maintaining control of asthma and other chronic diseases.

The pilot study is a month-long program with a series of automated text messages that consist of reminders and educational messages.  The messages vary from reminders to take medications to tips on how to use their medication and links to the National Jewish Health website where they can learn more information about asthma.  One group in the study receives the messages, the other does not receive the texts.  At the end of the month researchers will then compare medication adherence between the two groups.

The video will load shortly

“Other studies have indicated that texting has now become the preferred method by which teens communicate with each other. Our goal in this brief study is to see if teens are receptive to this type of communication from a health care provider and to see if they’re taking their medications more frequently,” said Dr. Searing. “For doctors knowing that patients are taking their medication as prescribed is very important.  The more confidence we have that a teen is taking their meds the more accurately we can determine its effectiveness.”

The video will load shortly

Researchers are hoping to see that those in the group show improvement in medication adherence.  If they see that correlation, the next step will be to set up a longer term study examining if those text messages have a positive impact on asthma outcomes in participants.

Explore further: Researchers still searching for ways to help patients take their meds

Related Stories

Researchers still searching for ways to help patients take their meds

May 13, 2011
Clinicians have tried a variety of ways to encourage people to take prescribed medicines, but a new research review says it is still unclear whether many of these interventions have been effective.

Recommended for you

Study suggests ending opioid epidemic will take years

July 20, 2017
The question of how to stem the nation's opioid epidemic now has a major detailed response. A new study chaired by University of Virginia School of Law Professor Richard Bonnie provides extensive recommendations for curbing ...

Team-based model reduces prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent

July 17, 2017
A new, team-based, primary care model is decreasing prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, which ...

Private clinics' peddling of unproven stem cell treatments is unsafe and unethical

July 7, 2017
Stem cell science is an area of medical research that continues to offer great promise. But as this week's paper in Science Translational Medicine highlights, a growing number of clinics around the globe, including in Australia, ...

Popular heartburn drugs linked to higher death risk

July 4, 2017
Popular heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to a variety of health problems, including serious kidney damage, bone fractures and dementia. Now, a new study from Washington University School ...

Most reproductive-age women using opioids also use another substance

June 30, 2017
The majority of reproductive-age and pregnant women who use opioids for non-medical purposes also use at least one other substance, ranging from nicotine or alcohol to cocaine, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate ...

At-risk chronic pain patients taper opioids successfully with psychological tools

June 28, 2017
Psychological support and new coping skills are helping patients at high risk of developing chronic pain and long-term, high-dose opioid use taper their opioids and rebuild their lives with activities that are meaningful ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Bernie240
not rated yet Jun 27, 2011
We have found that elderly patients also find SMS medication adherence, compliance alerts and patient reminders very useful too.
This has really surprised us. Upon closer investigation it seems that children (now adults) are playing a critical role in providing care-giver support and as a result are providing cell phones to their loved ones. Patient Reminders Ltd provide free patient reminder software to non-profits helping patients adhere and comply with complex medication regimens.
Bernie240
not rated yet Jun 27, 2011
We have found that elderly patients also find SMS medication adherence, compliance alerts and patient reminders very useful too.
This has really surprised us. Upon closer investigation it seems that children (now adults) are playing a critical role in providing care-giver support and as a result are providing cell phones to their loved ones. Patient Reminders Ltd provide free patient reminder software to non-profits helping patients adhere and comply with complex medication regimens.
patient-reminders.com/compliant-subject/medication-adherence/

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.