Research database

This Research Database has been developed by HCPC Europe to create an overview of the available research in the field of patient-friendly and adherence packaging. The database is for all members of HCPC Europe. Members can register as a user to get access to the database. Is your organisation not a member yet? Then please register your organisation as a member or contact our Executive Director Ger Standhardt for more information.


Statin non-adherence and residual cardiovascular risk: There is need for substantial improvement

Although statin therapy has proven to be the cornerstone for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD), there are many patients for whom long-term therapy remains suboptimal. The aims of this article are to review the current complex issues associated with statin use and to explore when novel treatment approaches should be considered.

Statin discontinuation as well as adherence to statin therapy remain two of the greatest challenges for lipidologists. Evidence suggests that between 40 and 75% of patients discontinue their statin therapy within one year after initiation. Furthermore, whilst the reasons for persistence with statin therapy are complex, evidence shows that low-adherence to statins negatively impacts clinical outcomes and residual CV risk remains a major concern.

Non-adherence or lack of persistence with long-term statin therapy in real-life may be the main cause of inadequate low density lipoprotein cholesterol lowering with statins. There is a large need for the improvement of the use of statins, which have good safety profiles and are inexpensive. On the other hand, in a non-cost-constrained environment, proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 inhibitors should arguably be used more often in those patients in whom treatment with statins remains unsatisfactory.


Interventions for enhancing medication adherence

Ways to help people follow prescribed medicines

Background Patients who are prescribed medicines take only about half of their doses and many stop treatment entirely. Assisting patients to adhere better to medicines could improve their health, and many studies have tested ways to achieve this.

Question We updated our review from 2007 to answer the question: What are the findings of high‐quality studies that tested ways to assist patients with adhering to their medicines?

Search strategy We retrieved studies published until 11 January 2013. To find relevant studies we searched six online databases and references in other reviews, and we contacted authors of relevant studies and reviews.

Selection criteria We selected studies reporting a randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing a group receiving an intervention to improve medicine adherence with a group not receiving the intervention. We included trials if they measured both medicine adherence and a clinical outcome (e.g. blood pressure), with at least 80% of patients studied until the end.

Main results The studies differed widely regarding included patients, treatments, adherence intervention types, medicine adherence measurement, and clinical outcomes. Therefore, we could not combine the results in statistical analysis to reach general conclusions, as it would be misleading to suggest that they are comparable. Instead, we provide the key features and findings of each study in tables, and we describe intervention effects in studies of the highest quality. The present update included 109 new studies, bringing the total number to 182. In the 17 studies of the highest quality, interventions were generally complex with several different ways to try to improve medicine adherence. These frequently included enhanced support from family, peers, or allied health professionals such as pharmacists, who often delivered education, counseling, or daily treatment support. Only five of these RCTs improved both medicine adherence and clinical outcomes, and no common characteristics for their success could be identified. Overall, even the most effective interventions did not lead to large improvements.

Authors’ conclusions Characteristics and effects of interventions to improve medicine adherence varied among studies. It is uncertain how medicine adherence can consistently be improved so that the full health benefits of medicines can be realized. We need more advanced methods for researching ways to improve medicine adherence, including better interventions, better ways of measuring adherence, and studies that include sufficient patients to draw conclusions on clinically important effects.


Economic impact of medication non-adherence by disease groups: a systematic review

Objective To determine the economic impact of medication non-adherence across multiple disease groups.

Evidence review A comprehensive literature search was conducted in PubMed and Scopus in September 2017. Studies quantifying the cost of medication non-adherence in relation to economic impact were included. Relevant information was extracted and quality assessed using the Drummond checklist.

Results Seventy-nine individual studies assessing the cost of medication non-adherence across 14 disease groups were included. Wide-scoping cost variations were reported, with lower levels of adherence generally associated with higher total costs. The annual adjusted disease-specific economic cost of non-adherence per person ranged from $949 to $44 190 (in 2015 US$). Costs attributed to ‘all causes’ non-adherence ranged from $5271 to $52 341. Medication possession ratio was the metric most used to calculate patient adherence, with varying cut-off points defining non-adherence. The main indicators used to measure the cost of non-adherence were total cost or total healthcare cost (83% of studies), pharmacy costs (70%), inpatient costs (46%), outpatient costs (50%), emergency department visit costs (27%), medical costs (29%) and hospitalisation costs (18%). Drummond quality assessment yielded 10 studies of high quality with all studies performing partial economic evaluations to varying extents.

Conclusion Medication non-adherence places a significant cost burden on healthcare systems. Current research assessing the economic impact of medication non-adherence is limited and of varying quality, failing to provide adaptable data to influence health policy. The correlation between increased non-adherence and higher disease prevalence should be used to inform policymakers to help circumvent avoidable costs to the healthcare system. Differences in methods make the comparison among studies challenging and an accurate estimation of true magnitude of the cost impossible. Standardisation of the metric measures used to estimate medication non-adherence and development of a streamlined approach to quantify costs is required.