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Patients' perspectives on antiepileptic medication: relationships between beliefs about medicines and adherence among patients with epilepsy in UK primary careBACKGROUND: Nonadherence to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) can result in suboptimal outcomes for patients. AIM: This study aimed to assess the utility of a theory-based approach to understanding patient perspectives on AEDs and adherence. METHOD: Patients with epilepsy, identified by a GP case note review, were mailed validated questionnaires assessing their perceptions of AEDs and their adherence to them. RESULTS: Most (84.9%) of the 398 AED-treated respondents accepted the necessity of AEDs, but over half expressed doubts, with 55% disagreeing or uncertain about the statement 'I would prefer to take epilepsy medication than risk a seizure'. Over a third (36.4%) expressed strong concerns about the potential negative effects of AEDs. We used self-report and medication possession ratio to classify 36.4% of patients as nonadherent. Nonadherence was related to beliefs about medicines and implicit attitudes toward AEDs (p<0.05). Adherence-related attitudes toward AEDs were correlated with general beliefs about pharmaceuticals (BMQ General: General Harm, General Overuse, and General Benefit scales) and perceptions of personal sensitivity to medicines (PSM scale). CONCLUSION: We identified salient, adherence-related beliefs about AEDs. Patient-centered interventions to support medicine optimization for people with epilepsy should take account of these beliefs.