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Interventions to improve adherence to cardiovascular medication: what about gender differences? A Systematic Literature Review.

Vervloet, M., Korevaar, J., Leemrijse, C., Paget, J., Zullig, L., Dijk, L. van. Interventions to improve adherence to cardiovascular medication: what about gender differences? A Systematic Literature Review. Patient Preference and Adherence: 2020, 14, 2055-2070
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Background:
Compared to men, women have lower treatment rates for cardiovascular disease (CVD), are at higher risk for medication non-adherence and have different reasons for being non-adherent. The aim of this study was to synthesize and evaluate gender-specific adherence-promoting interventions for cardiovascular medication and gender-specific effects of gender-neutral interventions.

Methods:
A systematic literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Cochrane Library from January 2007 to October 2019. Intervention studies (with control group) aimed at improving cardiovascular medication adherence with minimally 14 weeks follow-up were included. Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts. Full text was obtained for selected abstracts and screened for final inclusion. Data extraction included gender-specific targeting or analysis.

Results:
The search identified 6502 citations. After screening title and abstract, full text was obtained from 127 potentially eligible articles. Ultimately, 11 articles were included that analyzed gender differences in gender-neutral interventions. Two reported a gender-specific intervention effect. Using an electronic reminder device, one study increased statin adherence in women. The other found a larger increase in adherence to CVD medication following telephone counseling for men than women. Nine studies did not identify a gender-specific effect.

Conclusion:
Despite differences in levels of and reasons for non-adherence, most studies addressing adherence did not analyze potential differences in effect by gender. Moreover, none of the identified studies used gender-specific adherence promoting interventions. Increasing awareness about gender differences in adherence might lead to better tailoring of interventions to gender-specific needs and better results in improving adherence.