Objective: Non-adherence to pain medication is common in chronic pain patients and may result in unfavorable treatment outcomes. Interventions to improve adherence behavior often fail to significantly change medication use. In this report, we describe the application of a theoretical psychological model of behavior change in order to design an intervention to improve medication adherence in chronic pain patients. Methods: This study applies the Behavior Change Wheel framework and the Behavior Change Techniques Taxonomy to design a theory-based intervention to improve pain medication use. Available literature was used to extract determinants of adherence in chronic pain patients. Results: Selected target behaviors to improve medication adherence are: share agreement on follow up policy, monitor medication adherence, provide patient education routinely, discuss attitudes and concerns towards pain medication, develop medication taking habits and use medication reminders. The intervention consists of three components in which relevant behavior change techniques are applied: (1) changes in the electronic patient data management systems to enable medical staff to apply target behaviors; (2) bi-annual education of medical staff to commit the team to the proposed intervention and provide feedback; (3) routine and mandatory education of chronic pain patients following prescription of pain medication. Conclusions: To improve medication adherence in chronic pain patients, most interventions should be focused on providers of pain therapy. Prescribing chronic pain medication should be seen as part of a larger treatment regimen including adequate follow-up, adherence monitoring and patient education during the course of treatment.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Chronic pain, intervention, medication adherence, medication compliance, pain therapy
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007995.2017.1314955, hdl.handle.net/1765/99625
Journal Current medical research and Opinion
Timmerman, L, Stronks, D.L, & Huygen, F.J.P.M. (2017). The design of a theory-based intervention to improve medication adherence in chronic pain patients. Current medical research and Opinion, 33(7), 1293–1301. doi:10.1080/03007995.2017.1314955