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Kaiser Permanente Study Finds Varied Reasons Why Patients Do Not Fill their Initial Statin Prescriptions
Date:4/23/2013

rd of the respondents had inadequate health literacy, with nearly 17 percent needing help reading medical material, 17 percent reporting problems learning about their medical condition, and 30 percent reporting a lack of confidence in completing health forms without assistance.

"Our findings also suggest that physicians need to engage patients in a discussion about their medications at the time of the initial prescription, using lay terminology, and perhaps educational materials such as handouts that cater to their low-literacy levels," said Harrison. "It is also important that patients feel empowered to discuss any questions or concerns they have about their medications with their physicians at the time the medication is prescribed."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high LDL cholesterol is a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Other key risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure and smoking; nearly half of all Americans have at least one of these three risk factors. The CDC recommends that people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol eat a healthy diet, exercise, maintain a healthy weight and take their medications as prescribed.

This study is part of Kaiser Permanente's ongoing research to understand the reasons for medication nonadherence. In November 2012, researchers at Kaiser Permanente Southern California found that patients newly prescribed a cholesterol-lowering medication were more likely to pick it up from the pharmacy if they received automated phone and mail reminders. And in 2011, a Kaiser Permanente study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that people who receive medical care in an integrated health care system, with electronic health records linked to its own pharmacy, more often collect their new prescriptions for diabetes, cholesterol and high-blood pressure medic
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