Medication adherence among adolescents in a school-based health center

Cynthia J. Mears*, Nicole M. Charlebois, Jane Louise Holl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


School-based health centers are an integral part of the health care delivery system for low-income children. Medication adherence for these patients may be challenging because the student is often responsible for bringing home the prescription and receiving the instructions. This study assesses medication fill, initiation, and adherence rates among adolescents in a school-based health center to identify major barriers to medication compliance. Students enrolled in a school-based health center, ≥10 years old, able to read and write English, and whose parent had provided consent for participation, were eligible for the study. Eligible students who received a prescription from the health center were invited to return to the clinic a week later to complete a questionnaire (with verbal assent). Primary outcome measures included medication fill rates, medication initiation rates, medication adherence rates, and reasons for nonadherence. Eighty-one students completed the questionnaire: 45 students (55.6%) filled their prescription. Of the students who filled their prescriptions, 75.6% reported always taking their medication at the appropriate time, 22.2% reported sometimes forgetting to take their medication, and 2.2% reported never taking the medication. However, many discrepancies were found between reported medication-taking behavior and the instructions provided to the student. Medication fill, initiation, and adherence rates among students receiving prescriptions for medications in school-based health centers are suboptimal. Interventions that address key identified barriers need to be developed and evaluated in order to achieve optimal fill and adherence rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-56
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Philosophy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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