Telephone Intervention Does Not Reduce Nonadherence

Laura Joszt

Addressing primary medication nonadherence (PMN) through a telephonic intervention from the physicians office was not any more successful than the usual phone calls from the pharmacy, according to a study published in the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy.
 
The researchers focused on medications prescribed for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, asthma, and type 2 diabetes. Patients with medication orders at CVS pharmacies who failed to pick up their prescription after 14 days were enrolled into the program. The 290 patients were split into 2 groups: nurse-call intervention or usual care.
 
“The patients enrolled in the study were younger, more likely to have asthma, less likely to have hypertension, and more likely to have Medicaid or be self-paying for their care,” the authors explained.
 
The purpose of the study was to determine whether nonadherent patients were more likely to pick up their medications if a member of their primary care team contacted them.
 
“Among the patients who were enrolled in the study, medication adherence was very low and was not significantly changed by the telephonic intervention,” the authors wrote.
 
Of the 142 patients randomized to receive the intervention, only 50 (39%) spoke in person with the outreach nurse, and of those, just 15 (30%) picked up their medications.
 
Some of the reasons why patients did not pick up their medications included issues with the medication costs and prior problems with medications.
 
A quarter (25%) of interventions returned to pick up their prescriptions compared with 24% of control patients. Adherence was not significantly affected by the telephonic intervention, the researchers discovered.
 
“The lack of effect of the intervention shows that PMN among those patients who have not picked up a new prescription may be difficult to change, perhaps requiring interventions that move beyond telephone outreach to reconnect patients with their primary care providers who prescribed the medication,” the authors concluded.
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