Exploring the Roots of Poor Medication Adherence

Author: Parisa Mosallai (University of Arizona)

  • Exploring the Roots of Poor Medication Adherence


    Exploring the Roots of Poor Medication Adherence



Background. Approximately one-half of U.S. adults do not take their medications as prescribed. This increases healthcare costs, reduces patient health, and gives rise to safety concerns.

Objectives. We assessed patient medication adherence and identified the most common barriers for this.

Methods. We called Medicare Part D beneficiaries from University of Arizona SinfoniaRx Medication Management Center. Subjects qualified to participate in the study if they were identified as nonadherent. Nonadherence was identified using patient self-reports and prescription refill data which defined nonadherence as proportion of days covered (PDC) less than 80%. Data were collected from March 2018 and April 2018.

Results. When a gap in drug refill history is found, SinfoniaRx’s computer system creates an alert in a patient’s profile. The sample included 85 calls and 42 adherence alerts were observed. Of 42 alerts, 52.4% of alerts were denied by the subjects, and 95.3% of subjects reported adherence issues unrelated to the triggered alert. No alerts were identified for 56 subjects, and 72 adherence issues were identified via self-report only. The two most common reasons for nonadherence were cost (19.75%) and poor health literacy (22.2%).

Conclusions. Medication nonadherence is an important public health crisis because it reduces health and wellbeing as well as increases the risk for life-threatening events. Noncompliance also increases healthcare costs. Cost and poor health literacy were the most frequent barriers to compliance in our small study. Furthermore, most subjects were not aware of their noncompliance. To address noncompliance, we suggested lower cost drug alternatives and provided patient education.

How to Cite:

Mosallai, P., (2021) “Exploring the Roots of Poor Medication Adherence”, Arizona Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 7, 46-63.

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Published on
07 May 2021
Peer Reviewed