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Testing Feasibility of the MASH Intervention to Improve Antihypertensive Medication Adherence

Rush Research Team

Todd Ruppar, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, Principle Investigator, RUSH College of Nursing

Steven Rothschild, MD, Co-Investigator, RUSH Medical College

Michael Schoeney, PhD, Co-Investigator, RUSH College of Nursing 

Award Period

7/1/2022 – 6/30/2023

Funding Source 

RUSH University President’s Collaborative Research Award


Improving rates of blood pressure (BP) control among adults with hypertension is a key step in reducing rates of myocardial infarction, stroke, and heart failure, and lowering overall mortality from cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, over half of patients prescribed medication for hypertension do not take their medication as prescribed, leading to a high percentage of patients (45%) who are unable to reach their target BP despite being treated with antihypertensive medication. Low medication adherence has been linked with higher rates of myocardial infarction, stroke, and angina, as well as reduced life expectancy. Previously tested interventions to improve adherence to antihypertensive regimens have had limited efficacy, largely due to an underlying assumption that a single, standardized intervention approach will address all patients’ reasons for nonadherence. Tailoring adherence interventions using a Managed Problem Solving approach will permit addressing each patient’s reasons for nonadherence. This project will test the feasibility of the Medication Adherence Problem Solving for Hypertension (MASH) telehealth intervention, tailored to each participant’s reasons for low adherence to their antihypertensive medication. The intervention is designed to assess beliefs about hypertension, beliefs about medications, and barriers to effective medication-taking We will then deliver intervention strategies to address each patient’s problematic beliefs and barriers, applying the 5 steps of Managed Problem Solving. The proposed project aims are to 1) Assess the feasibility of MASH to improve antihypertensive medication adherence among adults with HTN by tracking recruitment, participant engagement and satisfaction with the intervention, as well as retention in the study; 2) Obtain estimates of efficacy of MASH compared to usual care on improving antihypertensive adherence as measured by electronic monitoring caps (MEMS) and lowering BP among persons with elevated BP at baseline over 12 weeks to inform future power analyses for a full-scale trial; and 3) Obtain estimates of other model parameters necessary to inform future power analyses for a full-scale intervention trial, including (a) intervention effects on targeted reasons for nonadherence (beliefs, barriers, perceived side-effects) and their subsequent association with medication adherence; (b) strength of covariate effects (e.g. education, household size, employment); and (c) the within-participant correlation between assessments. If successful, this intervention can also serve as a model for improving medication adherence in other chronic conditions and improve health outcomes for the half of patients with chronic conditions who struggle to manage their medications.