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Study Finds No Correlation Between Number of Pills and Adherence to It

There is no correlation between the daily number of pills a patient is prescribed to take and how well a patient will adhere to a dosing regimen, suggests a new study presented recently at the 19th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) held in San Diego (April 11-14). The large-scale study looked at patients taking a variety of high blood pressure medicines, specifically calcium channel blockers (CCBs), and provides more supportive evidence that adherence to prescribed medication is influenced by a multitude of factors. The study specifically examined dosing regimen to see if there was a relationship between that factor and adherence in patients with a co-payment of at least $20.

Poor adherence to medication is a recognized medical problem in the U.S., costing an estimated $100 billion a year.(I) Previous studies have found that issues contributing to poor adherence to medication are multifactorial.(II) According to the study's lead author, Diana Brixner, Ph.D., University of Utah Pharmacotherapy Outcomes Research Center, these new data can help emphasize to health care providers the importance of discussing various components of medication adherence with patients with chronic illnesses.

"We know from past research that chronic illnesses like hypertension or ulcerative colitis worsen when patients fail to take medication as prescribed - and this puts additional burdens not only on patients, but the health care system," says Brixner. "Data like these demonstrate that the influences on adherence are multi-factorial, and therefore it is a critical topic for all involved in the healthcare process to bring up to patients who take medication long-term."


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