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Medication Adherence Among Community-Dwelling Patients With Heart Failure


      To determine medication use and adherence among community-dwelling patients with heart failure (HF).


      Residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, with HF were recruited from October 10, 2007, through February 25, 2009. Pharmacy records were obtained for the 6 months after enrollment. Medication adherence was measured by the proportion of days covered (PDC). A PDC of less than 80% was classified as poor adherence. Factors associated with medication adherence were investigated.


      Among the 209 study patients with HF, 123 (59%) were male, and the mean ± SD age was 73.7±13.5 years. The median (interquartile range) number of unique medications filled during the 6-month study period was 11 (8-17). Patients with a documented medication allergy were excluded from eligibility for medication use within that medication class. Most patients received conventional HF therapy: 70% (147/209) were treated with β-blockers and 75% (149/200) with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers. Most patients (62%; 127/205) also took statins. After exclusion of patients with missing dosage information, the proportion of those with poor adherence was 19% (27/140), 19% (28/144), and 13% (16/121) for β-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers, and statins, respectively. Self-reported data indicated that those with poor adherence experienced more cost-related medication issues. For example, those who adhered poorly to statin therapy more frequently reported stopping a prescription because of cost than those with good adherence (46% vs 6%; P<.001), skipping doses to save money (23% vs 3%; P=.03), and not filling a new prescription because of cost (46% vs 6%; P<.001).


      Community-dwelling patients with HF take a large number of medications. Medication adherence was suboptimal in many patients, often because of cost.
      ACC (American College of Cardiology), ACEI (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor), ARB (angiotensin II receptor blocker), EF (ejection fraction), HF (heart failure), PDC (proportion of days covered)
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      Linked Article

      • Medication Adherence: Hope for Improvement?
        Mayo Clinic ProceedingsVol. 86Issue 4
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          In this issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2 important articles underscore the magnitude of the problem of medication nonadherence, one in the context of cardiovascular disease1 and one more generally,2 but also offer suggestions for improvement. The original research article by Dunlay et al1 investigated the proportion of patients prescribed drugs for heart failure who did not adhere to the medication regimen and the factors underlying their poor adherence. Brown and Bussel2 performed a systematic review of the literature to examine the origins of, and solutions to, poor medication adherence and explored the efforts of organizations such as the World Health Organization to address existing deficiencies.
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