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The Aston Medication Adherence Study: mapping the adherence patterns of an inner-city population


Background The Aston Medication Adherence Study was designed to examine non-adherence to prescribed medicines within an inner-city population using general practice (GP) prescribing data. Objective To examine non-adherence patterns to prescribed oral medications within three chronic disease states and to compare differences in adherence levels between various patient groups to assist the routine identification of low adherence amongst patients within the Heart of Birmingham teaching Primary Care Trust (HoBtPCT). Setting Patients within the area covered by HoBtPCT (England) prescribed medication for dyslipidaemia, type-2 diabetes and hypothyroidism, between 2000 and 2010 inclusively. HoBtPCT’s population was disproportionately young, with seventy per cent of residents from Black and Minority Ethnic groups. Method Systematic computational analysis of all medication issue data from 76 GP surgeries dichotomised patients into two groups (adherent and non-adherent) for each pharmacotherapeutic agent within the treatment groups. Dichotomised groupings were further analysed by recorded patient demographics to identify predictors of lower adherence levels. Results were compared to an analysis of a self-report measure of adherence [using the Modified Morisky Scale© (MMAS-8)] and clinical value data (cholesterol values) from GP surgery records. Main outcome Adherence levels for different patient demographics, for patients within specific longterm treatment groups. Results Analysis within all three groups showed that for patients with the following characteristics, adherence levels were statistically lower than for others; patients: younger than 60 years of age; whose religion is coded as “Islam”; whose ethnicity is coded as one of the Asian groupings or as “Caribbean”, “Other Black” and “African”; whose primary language is coded as “Urdu” or “Bengali”; and whose postcodes indicate that they live within the most socioeconomically deprived areas of HoBtPCT. Statistically significant correlations between adherence status and results from the selfreport measure of adherence and of clinical value data analysis were found. Conclusion Using data from GP prescribing systems, a computerised tool to calculate individual adherence levels for oral pharmacotherapy for the treatment of diabetes, dyslipidaemia and hypothyroidism has been developed. The tool has been used to establish nonadherence levels within the three treatment groups and the demographic characteristics indicative of lower adherence levels, which in turn will enable the targeting of interventional support within HoBtPCT.

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The authors are grateful to a range of individuals and organisations that made the project possible. In particular, the authors would like to highlight Jane E Harvey (Research Pharmacist), Alpa Patel (Research Administrator) and John Williams (Database analyst). In addition, the authors are grateful to members for the Project Steering Group. Thanks are offered to Professor Donald Morisky for permitting the use of the Modified Morisky Scale (MMAS-8) and the information provided regarding translation of this questionnaire. Further details on the individuals and organisations that helped with the study can be found within the project report [19].


Funding This study was funded by the Heart of Birmingham teaching Primary Care Trust R&D Programme (which is now part of NHS Birmingham and Solihull).

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The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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Correspondence to Christopher A. Langley.

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Langley, C.A., Bush, J. The Aston Medication Adherence Study: mapping the adherence patterns of an inner-city population. Int J Clin Pharm 36, 202–211 (2014).

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