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Comparison of persistence rates of acetylcholine-esterase inhibitors in a state Medicaid program

Authors Abughosh S, Kogut S

Published 20 March 2008 Volume 2008:2 Pages 79—85


Susan M Abughosh1, Stephen J Kogut2

1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), MA, USA; 2Department of Pharmacy Practice, Program in Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, University of Rhode Island (URI), College of Pharmacy, RI, USA

Objective: To compare levels of persistency between cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs) among a Medicaid patient population of older adults.

Methods: Survival analysis was used to assess differences in discontinuation between ChEIs (donepezil versus rivastigmine and galantamine), and for difference in patient gender, age, race, and care setting.

Results: Rates of discontinuation increased from 42.7% (95% CI = 39.9–45.5) at 12 months to 84.8% (95% CI = 82.3–87.3) at 24 months. In multivariate models, no significant difference in discontinuation existed prior to 365 days. However, patients dispensed donepezil were less likely to discontinue as compared with users of the other two ChEIs after the first year (RR = 0.70; CI = 0.499–0.983; p < 0.04). Patients of white race were less likely to discontinue (RR = 0.549; 95% CI = 0.43–0.82; p = 0.0015), while gender, care setting, and age were not associated with discontinuation.

Conclusions: One-year persistence rates were similar between different ChEIs. Among patients persisting with ChEI medication for at least 12 months, users of donepezil were slightly more likely to continue to persist at 24 months. Nearly half of patients failed to persist with ChEI therapy for at least 12 months. Our findings underscore the limitations of the ChEI medications and the urgent need for effective and tolerable therapeutic options for patients having dementia.

Keywords: persistence, elderly, alzheimer’s disease, cholinesterase inhibitors, medicaid

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