A Review of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Prescribed Medications Instructions to Promote Medication Adherence: A Document Analysis Study

C. Ngoatle1, *, T. M. Mothiba2, M. J. Themane3
1 Department of Nursing Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
2 Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
3 Department of Educational Studies, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa

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Creative Commons License
© 2019 Ngoatle et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Nursing Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa, Home address: Stand no.53 Ga-Selala, Burgersfort, South Africa; Tel: 083 878 0152, Fax: 015 268 3080; E-mail:



Health literacy is referred to as the individual’s ability to comprehend and follow medication instructions. The aim of the study was to investigate the prescribed medications instructions for user friendliness to enhance health literacy and promote medication adherence in patients with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).


A qualitative, descriptive design using checklist rubric was used to conduct the document analysis study. A convenient sampling was used to select 15 Non-Communicable Diseases’ drugs for review from 02 February to 30 April 2018 in Limpopo province, South Africa. Tesch’s eight steps for data analysis was used.


Fifteen drug leaflets, scripts and packages revealed that there were poor explanation of the frequency of taking the medications and poor information related to the prescribed medication instructions. The findings are however, limited to the study setting and could not be generalised.


There is a need for further explanation of the medication instructions which includes the frequency of taking medications to be reflected so that patients may consume them at the exact time indicated. The use of symbols on the medication packages should be reviewed. This will assist in reducing mortalities and NCDs complications.

Keywords: Health literacy, Medication adherence, Prescribed medications, Medication instructions, Non-communicable diseases, Patients.