Perspectives on antihypertensive medication: a qualitative study in a rural Yogyakarta province in Indonesia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Drugs and Therapy Perspectives, 2016, 32 (2), pp. 76 - 83
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© 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. Aim: Patients’ perceptions and beliefs underpin their adherence to pharmacotherapeutic regimens and are influenced by access to appropriate information and education. This study explores the perceptions of lay persons from a low-resource community in Indonesia regarding antihypertension medication. Methodology: Individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted, transcribed and thematically analysed. Fourteen respondents (i.e. older persons with hypertension and lay health workers) from a local community-based health programme in Yogyakarta province (Indonesia) were recruited for this qualitative study. Results: Four themes emerged: (1) participants felt that medication for hypertension is unnecessary, instead preferring lifestyle changes and traditional medicines; (2) a fear of becoming dependent on medication underpinned non-adherence to antihypertensive agents—participants with hypertension wanted to achieve normal blood pressure, but without taking long-term medication; (3) symptom-based drivers for treatment led participants to rank other health problems a higher priority than hypertension; and (4) although lay health workers had an opportunity to provide information about hypertension and its management, participants themselves considered this to be currently inadequate. Conclusion: Some misconceptions regarding the role of antihypertension medication that negatively influenced adherence were identified. Beliefs that hypertension can be easily treated by lifestyle modifications can undermine motivation to take antihypertensive agents. Participants expressed their need for more targeted information about hypertension and its treatment; however, they do not expect to obtain such information from their physician. The potential role of lay health workers needs to be further explored as a strategy to enhance understanding and adherence.
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