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Does text messaging help with medication adherence in chronic disease?

Medication adherence in chronic disease is poor. Can telephone text messaging help with adherence? A new article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine examines the question in a meta-analysis conducted by Jay Thakkar, F.R.A.C.P., and Clara K. Chow, Ph.D., of The George Institute for Global Health, the University of Sydney, Australia, and coauthors. The meta-analysis included 16 randomized clinical trials to assess the effect of text messaging on medication adherence in chronic disease. The results suggest text messaging was associated with increased odds of medication adherence. However, the authors encourage caution when interpreting their results, in part, because of the reliance on self-reported medication adherence. The authors recommend future studies with a focus on appropriate patient populations, the longevity of the effect and the influence on clinical outcomes.

In a related commentary, R. Brian Haynes, M.D., Ph.D., of McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and coauthors write: “In summary, future adherence research needs to overcome the common methodological pitfalls that are still plaguing the field. 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.”

Article: Mobile Telephone Text Messaging for Medication Adherence in Chronic Disease, Jay Thakkar, FRACP; Rahul Kurup, MBBS; Tracey-Lea Laba, PhD; Karla Santo, MD; Aravinda Thiagalingam, PhD; Anthony Rodgers, PhD; Mark Woodward, PhD; Julie Redfern, PhD; Clara K. Chow, PhD, JAMA Internal Medicine, doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7667, published online 1 February 2016.

Commentary: Mobile Text Messaging and Adherence of Patients to Medication Prescriptions: A txt a dA keeps da doctR awA?Robby Nieuwlaat, PhD; Niraj Mistry, MD, MSc; R. Brian Haynes, MD, PhD, JAMA Internal Medicine, doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7853, published online 1 February 2016.