Medicine-taking among transplant recipients is a complex and ubiquitous task with significant impacts on outcomes. This study aimed to describe the perspectives and experiences of medicine-taking in adult solid organ transplant recipients. Electronic databases were searched to July 2020, and thematic synthesis was used to analyze the data. From 119 studies (n = 2901), we identified six themes: threats to identity and ambitions (impaired self-image, restricting goals and roles, loss of financial independence); navigating through uncertainty and distrust (lacking tangible/perceptible benefits, unprepared for side effects, isolation in decision-making); alleviating treatment burdens (establishing and mastering routines, counteracting side effects, preparing for the unexpected); gaining and seeking confidence (clarity with knowledge, reassurance through collective experiences, focusing on the future outlook); recalibrating to a new normal posttransplant (adjusting to ongoing dependence on medications, in both states of illness and health, unfulfilled expectations); and preserving graft survival (maintaining the ability to participate in life, avoiding rejection, enacting a social responsibility of giving back). Transplant recipients take medications to preserve graft function, but dependence on medications jeopardizes their sense of normality. Interventions supporting the adaptation to medicine-taking and addressing treatment burdens may improve patient satisfaction and capacities to take medications for improved outcomes.
- clinical research/practice
- organ transplantation in general
- qualitative research