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Medication adherence behaviors of Medicare beneficiaries

Authors Carr-Lopez S, Shek A, Lastimosa J, Patel R, Woelfel J, Galal S, Gundersen B

Received 25 March 2014

Accepted for publication 29 April 2014

Published 17 September 2014 Volume 2014:8 Pages 1277—1284


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Sian M Carr-Lopez,1 Allen Shek,1 Janine Lastimosa,2 Rajul A Patel,1 Joseph A Woelfel,1 Suzanne M Galal,1 Berit Gundersen1

1Pharmacy Practice Department, 2Thomas J Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA, USA

Background: Medication adherence is crucial for positive outcomes in the management of chronic conditions. Comprehensive medication consultation can improve medication adherence by addressing intentional and unintentional nonadherence. The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit has eliminated some cost barriers. We sought to examine variables that impact self-reported medication adherence behaviors in an ambulatory Medicare-beneficiary population and to identify the factors that influence what information is provided during a pharmacist consultation.
Methods: Medicare beneficiaries who attended health fairs in northern California were offered medication therapy management (MTM) services during which demographic, social, and health information, and responses to survey questions regarding adherence were collected. Beneficiaries were also asked which critical elements of a consultation were typically provided by their community pharmacist. Survey responses were examined as a function of demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related factors.
Results: Of the 586 beneficiaries who were provided MTM services, 575 (98%) completed the adherence questions. Of responders, 406 (70%) reported taking medications “all of the time”. Of the remaining 169 (30%), the following reasons for nonadherence were provided: 123 (73%) forgetfulness; 18 (11%) side effects; and 17 (10%) the medication was not needed. Lower adherence rates were associated with difficulty paying for medication, presence of a medication-related problem, and certain symptomatic chronic conditions. Of the 532 who completed survey questions regarding the content of a typical pharmacist consultation, the topics included: 378 (71%) medication name and indication; 361 (68%) administration instructions; 307 (58%) side effects; 257 (48%) missed-dose instructions; and 245 (46%) interactions. ­Subsidy recipients and non-English speakers were significantly less likely to be counseled on drug name, indication, and side effects. The presence of certain health conditions was also associated with missing consultation elements.
Conclusion: While Medicare beneficiaries are generally adherent to medication therapy, adherence barriers must be identified and addressed during comprehensive medication consultation.

Keywords: pharmacist consultation, adherence behaviors

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