Perspectives of solid organ transplant recipients on medicine-taking: Systematic review of qualitative studies

James Tang, Jasmijn Kerklaan, Germaine Wong, Martin Howell, Nicole Scholes-Robertson, Chandana Guha, Ayano Kelly, Allison Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3369-3387
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical research/practice
  • immunosuppressant
  • organ transplantation in general
  • qualitative research


Dive into the research topics of 'Perspectives of solid organ transplant recipients on medicine-taking: Systematic review of qualitative studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this