Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Improving adherence to medication in stroke survivors (IAMSS): a randomised controlled trial: study protocol

Ronan O'Carroll1*, Martin Dennis2, Marie Johnston3 and Cathie Sudlow2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychology, Stirling University, Stirling, UK

2 Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh, UK

3 Psychology Department, William Guild Building, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Neurology 2010, 10:15  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-15

Published: 24 February 2010



Adherence to therapies is a primary determinant of treatment success, yet the World Health Organisation estimate that only 50% of patients who suffer from chronic diseases adhere to treatment recommendations. In a previous project, we found that 30% of stroke patients reported sub-optimal medication adherence, and this was associated with younger age, greater cognitive impairment, lower perceptions of medication benefits and higher specific concerns about medication. We now wish to pilot a brief intervention aimed at (a) helping patients establish a better medication-taking routine, and (b) eliciting and modifying any erroneous beliefs regarding their medication and their stroke.


Thirty patients will be allocated to a brief intervention (2 sessions) and 30 to treatment as usual. The primary outcome will be adherence measured over 3 months using Medication Event Monitoring System (MEMS) pill containers which electronically record openings. Secondary outcomes will include self reported adherence and blood pressure.


This study shall also assess uptake/attrition, feasibility, ease of understanding and acceptability of this complex intervention.

Trial Registration

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN38274953