Patient-Reported Medication Adherence Barriers Among Patients with Cardiovascular Risk Factors

AUTHORS: Leah L. Zullig, Karen M. Stechuchak, Karen M. Goldstein, Maren K. Olsen, Felicia M. McCant, Susanne Danus, Matthew J. Crowley, Eugene Z. Oddone, Hayden B. Bosworth



BACKGROUND: Many patients experience barriers that make it difficult to take cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related medications as prescribed. The Cardiovascular Intervention Improvement Telemedicine Study (CITIES) was a tailored behavioral pharmacist-administered and telephone-based intervention for reducing CVD risk.

OBJECTIVES: To (a) describe patient-reported barriers to taking their medication as prescribed and (b) evaluate patient-level characteristics associated with reporting medication barriers.

METHODS: We recruited patients receiving care at primary care clinics affiliated with Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Eligible patients were diagnosed with hypertension and/or hyperlipidemia that were poorly controlled (blood pressure of > 150/100 mmHg and/or low-density lipoprotein value > 130 mg/dL). At the time of enrollment, patients completed an interview with 7 questions derived from a validated medication barriers measure. Patient characteristics and individual medication treatment barriers are described. Multivariable linear regression was used to examine the association between a medication barrier score and patient characteristics.

RESULTS: Most patients (n = 428) were married or living with their partners (57%) and were men (85%) who were diagnosed with hypertension and hyperlipidemia (64%). The most commonly reported barriers were having too much medication to take (31%) and forgetting whether medication was taken at a particular time (24%). In adjusted analysis, those who were not employed (1.32, 95% CI = 0.50-2.14) or did not have someone to help with tasks, if needed (1.66, 95% CI = 0.42-2.89), reported higher medication barrier scores. Compared with those diagnosed with hypertension and hyperlipidemia, those with only hypertension (0.91, 95% CI = 0.04-1.79) reported higher medication barrier scores.

CONCLUSIONS: Barriers to medication adherence are common. Evaluating and addressing barriers may increase medication adherence.

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