International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 488–497 | Cite as

The association between the measurement of adherence to anti-diabetes medicine and the HbA1c

  • Sheila A. DoggrellEmail author
  • Servane Warot
Review Article


Background Adherence to medicines is important in subjects with diabetes, as nonadherence is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. However, it is not clear whether there is an association between adherence to medicines and glycaemic control, as not all studies have shown this. One of the reasons for this discrepancy may be that, although there is a standard measure of glycaemic control i.e. HbA1c, there is no standard measure of adherence to medicines. Adherence to medicines can be measured either qualitatively by Morisky or non-Morisky methods or quantitatively using the medicines possession ratio (MPR). Aims of the review The aims of this literature review are (1) to determine whether there is an association between adherence to anti-diabetes medicines and glycaemic control, and (2) whether any such association is dependent on how adherence is measured. Methods A literature search of Medline, CINAHL and the Internet (Google) was undertaken with search terms; ‘diabetes’ with ‘adherence’ (or compliance, concordance, persistence, continuation) with ‘HbA1c’ (or glycaemic control). Results Twenty-three studies were included; 10 qualitative and 12 quantitative studies, and one study using both methods. For the qualitative methods measurements of adherence to anti-diabetes medicines (non-Morisky and Morisky), eight out of ten studies show an association with HbA1c. Nine of ten studies using the quantitative MPR, and two studies using MPR for insulin only, have also shown an association between adherence to anti-diabetes medicines and HbA1c. However, the one study that used both Morisky and MPR did not show an association. Three of the four studies that did not show a relationship, did not use a range of HbA1c values in their regression analysis. The other study that did not show a relationship was specifically in a low income population. Conclusions Most studies show an association between adherence to anti-diabetes medicines and HbA1c levels, and this seems to be independent of method used to measure adherence. However, to show an association it is necessary to have a range of HbA1c values. Also, the association is not always apparent in low income populations.


Adherence Adherence measurement Anti-diabetes medicines Diabetes Mellitus HbA1c MMAS Morisky adherence scale Medicines possession ratio (MPR) 




Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biomedical SciencesQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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