A recent study published in the Annals of Thoracic Society, found that older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) showed a lack of adherence of medications after being diagnosed with depression.
Coauthor of the study, Linda Simoni-Wastila, said, “with a prevalence of 17 to 44 percent, depression remains one of the most common, yet least recognized and under-treated, co-morbidities among patients with COPD."
Between 2006 and 2012, a random sample of Medicare claims were analyzed with a focus on a, “relationship between a new episode of depression and COPD medication adherence.” The beneficiaries that were examined had, “filled their COPD prescriptions at least twice in the 24 months after diagnosis in their analysis.” The study was then narrowed down to the 20% of those beneficiaries who had been diagnosed with depression, “within 24 months after a COPD diagnosis.”
The study also found that the, “average monthly adherence to medications for COPD was low among all of the patients, peaking at 57% 1 month after the first prescription and dropping to 35% within 6 months. Only 20% of patients with depression and COPD fell into the highest adherence category during the 24-month follow-up period compared with 22% of patients with COPD who did not have depression.”
Further investigations found that patients who were diagnosed with over three conditions had, “the highest risk for poor adherence.” This insinuates that, “patients may prioritize filling certain medications or may struggle to maintain complex regimens.”
The researchers hope that the study will raise awareness about the correlation between reduced medication adherence and patients with multiple medical conditions.