Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 638–645

Suboptimal statin adherence and discontinuation in primary and secondary prevention populations

Should we target patients with the most to gain?
  • Jeffrey J. Ellis
  • Steven R. Erickson
  • James G. Stevenson
  • Steven J. Bernstein
  • Renee A. Stiles
  • A. Mark Fendrick
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2004.30516.x

Cite this article as:
Ellis, J.J., Erickson, S.R., Stevenson, J.G. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2004) 19: 638. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2004.30516.x

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To compare statin nonadherence and discontinuation rates of primary and secondary prevention populations and to identify factors that may affect those suboptimal medication-taking behaviors.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort utilizing pharmacy claims and administrative databases.

SETTING: A midwestern U.S. university-affiliated hospital and managed care organization (MCO).

PATIENTS: Non-Medicaid MCO enrollees, 18 years old and older, who filled 2 or more statin prescriptions from January 1998 to November 2001; 2,258 secondary and 2,544 primary prevention patients were identified.

MEASUREMENTS: Nonadherence was assessed by the percent of days without medication (gap) over days of active statin use, a measurement known as cumulative multiple refill-interval gap (CMG). Discontinuation was identified by cessation of statin refills prior to the end of available pharmacy claims data.

RESULTS: On average, the primary and secondary groups went without medication 20.4% and 21.5% of the time, respectively (P=.149). Primary prevention patients were more likely to discontinue statin therapy relative to the secondary prevention cohort (relative risk [RR], 1.24; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08 to 1.43). Several factors influenced nonadherence and discontinuation. Fifty percent of patients whose average monthly statin copayment was <$10 discontinued by the end of follow-up (3.9 years), whereas 50% of those who paid >$10 but ≤$20 and >$20 discontinued by 2.2 and 1.0 years, respectively (RR, 1.39 and 4.30 relative to <$10 copay, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Statin nonadherence and discontinuation was suboptimal and similar across prevention categories. Incremental efforts, including those that decrease out-of-pocket pharmaceutical expenditures, should focus on improving adherence in high-risk populations most likely to benefit from statin use.

Key words

adherence copayment discontinuation HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors coronary heart disease 

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey J. Ellis
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  • Steven R. Erickson
    • 1
    • 2
  • James G. Stevenson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Steven J. Bernstein
    • 3
    • 4
  • Renee A. Stiles
    • 5
  • A. Mark Fendrick
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.the Department of Pharmacy ServicesUniversity of Michigan Hospitals and Health CentersUSA
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Sciences, College of PharmacyUniversity of MichiganUSA
  3. 3.VA Ann Arbor Healthcare SystemUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor
  4. 4.Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor
  5. 5.Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal MedicineVanderbilt UniversityNashville
  6. 6.Department of Health Management and Policy, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor
  7. 7.Department of Pharmacy—QQb5Cleveland Clinic FoundationCleveland

Personalised recommendations