(HealthDay News) – Patient education (PE) enhanced with positive affirmation (PA) improves medication adherence over education alone in African-Americans with hypertension, but it does not lead to significant improvements in blood pressure (BP) reduction, according to a study published online Jan. 23 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Gbenga O. Ogedegbe, MD, from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial of 256 African-Americans with hypertension who were followed in two primary care practices. Patients in both groups received a culturally tailored hypertension self-management workbook, a behavioral contract, and bimonthly telephone calls. Patients in the PA group also received small gifts and bimonthly telephone calls to help them incorporate positive thoughts into their daily routine and foster self-affirmation. Medication adherence was assessed with electronic pill monitors.

The researchers found that the two groups shared similar baseline characteristics (mean BP, 137/82 mm Hg; 36% had diabetes, 11% had suffered a stroke, and 3% had chronic kidney disease). Medication adherence at 12 months was significantly higher in the PA group than in the PE group (42% vs. 36%). The within-group reduction in systolic BP and diastolic BP for the two groups was not significant.

“A PE intervention enhanced with PA led to significantly higher medication adherence compared with PE alone in hypertensive African-Americans,” write the authors.

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