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Synchronized prescription refills and medication adherence: a retrospective claims analysis.

Doshi, Jalpa A; Lim, Raymond; Li, Pengxiang; Young, Peinie P; Lawnicki, Victor F; Troxel, Andrea B; Volpp, Kevin G.
Am J Manag Care; 23(2): 98-104, 2017 Feb.
Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28245653


Medication adherence is often suboptimal, especially among patients on multiple chronic medications. We examined the association between synchronized medication refill schedules-which typically reduce organizational effort and logistical demands-and adherence. STUDY


Retrospective study among patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans.


We used 2012 pharmacy, medical, and enrollment data linked with consumer meta-data for Medicare patients filling 2 or more maintenance prescriptions for antihypertensives, lipid-lowering agents, antidiabetic agents, antidepressants, and/or antiosteoporotic agents. Medication adherence for the year was measured using the proportion of days covered (PDC) at the drug class level. Patients were deemed adherent if drug class PDC was ≥0.80. Outcomes were compared between 11 propensity score-matched patients on synchronized versus nonsynchronized refill schedules for maintenance medications.


The synchronized refill group showed better adherence than the control group, although the magnitude of effects varied by drug class and specific outcome measure. Mean PDC scores ranged from 0.02 higher for antihypertensives to 0.07 higher for antidepressants in the synchronized refill group relative to the control group (P <.01). Further, compared with the control group, a larger proportion of synchronized refill group members were deemed adherent, ranging from 6 percentage points higher for antihypertensives to 15 percentage points higher for lipid-lowering agents (P <.01). Differences between the synchronized and control groups were larger among exclusive users of retail versus mail order pharmacies for maintenance medications.


Synchronized medication refill schedules were associated with better medication adherence, particularly for patients filling maintenance medications exclusively at retail pharmacies.