BCR-ABL inhibitors for treating chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase have transformed a previously incurable malignancy into a manageable condition. However, suboptimal medication adherence has been observed with these agents affecting clinical outcomes and healthcare costs. In order to raise awareness of the problem of adherence, and before developing pragmatic strategies to enhance medication adherence, a deep understanding of the best approaches for measuring adherence in chronic myeloid leukemia patients and identifying non-adherence is required. A systematic literature review on the prevalence, measurement methods, consequences and risk factors for non-adherence to BCR-ABL inhibitors and adherence-enhancing interventions was performed and critically appraised. Of the 19 included articles, 9 were retrospective. Average adherence varied from 19% to almost 100% of the proportion of prescribed drug taken, but it was measured through various different methods and within different study groups. Suboptimal adherence was associated with a negative impact on both clinical and economic outcomes. There is a lack of supportive evidence demonstrating a difference in adherence across BCR-ABL inhibitors and even contradictory results between the 2nd generation inhibitors. Drug-related adverse events and forgetfulness were common reasons for intentional and unintentional non-adherence, respectively, but further research is required to identify additional reasons behind non-adherence or patients at risk of non-adherence. Non-adherence in chronic myeloid leukemia patients treated with BCR-ABL inhibitors is common and associated with critical outcomes. However, this review highlights important existing gaps, reveals inconsistent definitions, and a lack of standardized methods for measuring adherence in chronic myeloid leukemia. All require further investigation.