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Proportion of Japanese outpatients filling prescriptions for long-term medication regimens

Authors Kurata K, Onuki M, Yoshizumi K, Taniai E, Dobashi A

Received 19 October 2018

Accepted for publication 1 March 2019

Published 2 May 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 667—673


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Kaori Kurata,1 Michi Onuki,2 Kazuki Yoshizumi,3 Eitaro Taniai,3 Akira Dobashi1

1Education and Research Institute of Information Science, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan; 2Insurance Pharmacy Division, Yakuju Co. Ltd, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan; 3Information Headquarters, Yakuju Co. Ltd., Yamato-shi, Kanagawa, Japan

Aim: Our study aimed to clarify how long outpatients with chronic diseases such as hypertension continuously fill prescriptions for the same medications as those prescribed initially and how many medications they take over the long term.
Methods: Medication records from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 with total days between initial and final dispensation date ≥330 days and total days of medication supplies ≥180 days were extracted from an electronic database in a Japanese community pharmacy chain. The continuity of refilling medications over 1 year (ie, medication fill adherence) was measured using the medication possession ratio (MPR).
Results: A total of 34,549 outpatients received long-term medications under the above conditions (4.4% of all patients in the database). Mean age was 66.0±17.4 years; 63.1% were ≥65 years. The mean number of medications prescribed per patient was 3.2±2.3. More than one-fifth of patients (22.6%) were taking ≥5 medications. The mean MPR for patients overall was 93.6±11.2%; 87.2% of patients had an MPR ≥80% but <110%. Amlodipine besylate, an antihypertensive, was the most commonly prescribed drug (n=5,537 patients).
Conclusion: Outpatients that received long-term medications with no change in prescription had an MPR >90% for around 3 medications. It can be reasonably assumed that these patients could receive a longer-term medication supply with the partial fills based on a physician’s instruction (“Bunkatu Chozai” in Japanese). This longer-term supply would be similar to a basic prescription refill, but would require a physician’s signature allowing for partial refills rather than a new prescription for each refill.

Keywords: outpatient, partial fill, long-term medication, medication possession ratio, chronic disease, refill prescription

Corrigendum for this paper has been published

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