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      A review of studies of adherence with antihypertensive drugs using prescription databases

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          Abstract

          Poor adherence with antihypertensive therapies is a major factor in the low rates of blood pressure control among people with hypertension. Patient adherence is influenced by a large number of interacting factors but their exact impact is not well understood, partly because it is difficult to measure adherence. Longitudinal prescription data can be used as a measure of drug supply and are particularly useful to identify interruptions and changes of treatment. Obtaining a medicine does not ensure its use; however, it has been established that continuous collection of prescription medications is a useful marker of adherence. We found 20 studies published in the last 10 years that used large prescription databases to investigate adherence with antihypertensive therapies. These were assessed in terms of patient selection, the definition of the adherence outcome(s), and statistical modeling. There was large variation between studies, limiting their comparability. Particular methodological problems included: the failure to identify an inception cohort, which ensures baseline comparability, in four studies; the exclusion of patients who could not be followed up, which results in a selection bias, in 17 studies; failure to validate outcome definitions; and failure to model the discrete-time structure of the data in all the studies we examined. Although the data give repeated measurements on patients, none of the studies attempted to model patient-level variability. Studies of such observational data have inherent limitations, but their potential has not been fully realized in the modeling of adherence with antihypertensive drugs. Many of the studies we reviewed found high rates of nonadherence to antihypertensive therapies despite differences in populations and methods used. Adherence rates from one database ranged from 34% to 78% at 1 year. Some studies found women had better adherence than men, while others found the reverse. Novel approaches to analyzing data from such databases are required to use the information available appropriately and avoid the problems of bias.

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          Most cited references 37

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          2003 European Society of Hypertension-European Society of Cardiology guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension.

            (2003)
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            Multilevel statistical models

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              The assessment of refill compliance using pharmacy records: methods, validity, and applications.

              The refill records of computerized pharmacy systems are used increasingly as a source of compliance information. We reviewed the English-language literature to develop a typology of methods for assessing refill compliance (RC), to describe the epidemiology of compliance in obtaining medications, to identify studies that attempted to validate RC measures, to describe clinical features that predicted RC, and to describe the uses of RC measures in epidemiologic and health services research. In most of the 41 studies reviewed, patients obtained less medication than prescribed; gaps in treatment were common. Of the studies that assessed the validity of RC measures, most found significant associations between RC and other compliance measures, as well as measures of drug presence (e.g., serum drug levels) or physiologic drug effects. Refill compliance was generally not correlated with demographic characteristics of study populations, was higher among drugs with fewer daily doses, and was inconsistently associated with the total number of drugs prescribed. We conclude that, though some methodologic problems require further study, RC measures can be a useful source of compliance information in population-based studies when direct measurement of medication consumption is not feasible.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                June 2005
                June 2005
                : 1
                : 2
                : 93-106
                Affiliations
                Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St James’s Hospital Dublin, Ireland
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Nicola Fitz-Simon Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St James’s Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland Tel +353 1 6081408 Fax +353 1 4539 033 Email afitzsim@ 123456tcd.ie
                Article
                1661615
                18360549
                © 2005 Dove Medical Press Limited. All rights reserved
                Categories
                Review

                Medicine

                patient adherence, prescription databases, antihypertensives

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