Medication adherence continues to be an important topic in the health care world. Despite a greater understanding of the pitfalls surrounding patient adherence, there is still a far distance to go before the problem of adherence can be considered solved.
To better understand barriers to adherence, a group of researchers examined adherence in low-income diabetes patients over a nine-month period. For this patient group, the barriers to adherence – in order of importance – were: aversion to the idea of taking any medication, forgetfulness, cost, and access to a pharmacy. The top adherence barrier came as quite a surprise to these researchers, who were expecting cost to top the list. However, now that medication aversion is known to be a factor, the researchers point out that it can be addressed through better patient-pharmacist or patient-physician communication.
Communication with health care providers is increasingly important in older patients who tend to take multiple medications for multiple conditions. Research from the Irish Pharmacy Union indicates that the more medications a patient takes (and for multiple conditions) leaves them more vulnerable to taking their medications incorrectly. Medication management, especially for older populations, can be complex. But, once again, pharmacists can smooth the path and improve outcomes.
For all of these reasons, and more, this is why our specialty pharmacy takes the issue of patient communication so seriously. We know that an informed patient who feels comfortable and confident in their treatment plan – and who feels listened to – is more likely to be adherent and thus more likely to achieve an optimal outcome.
Stephen C. Vogt, Pharm.D.
President and CEO
BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy
What do you think?
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Dixon BE, Alzeer AH, Phillips EO, et al. Integration of provider, pharmacy, and patient-reported data to improve medication adherence for type 2 diabetes: A controlled before-after pilot study. J Med Inter Res 2016;4(1):e4.
Condon D. Management of meds can be complex. Irishhealth.com March 3, 2016.