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Problem: Studies have shown that only ~50% of patients with chronic conditions take their medications as prescribed. Patient nonadherence can be due to forgetfulness, desire to avoid adverse side effects, and high costs of medications, particularly in patients with low incomes, multiple chronic health problems, and no prescription coverage. Attempting to reduce medication costs by taking less than prescribed dose does not allow for full therapeutic benefits, and may put patients at increased risk for declining health. Consequences of cost-related nonadherence (CRN) and underuse: increased ED visits, psychiatric admissions, nursing home admissions, and decreased health status. In patients with asthma, medication nonadherence has led to increased hospitalization rates and other adverse outcomes. Up to 88% of patients with asthma do not properly follow their inhaled medication regimen. CRN behaviors are influenced by financial pressures and polypharmacy. However, physicians and other members of the health system may prevent these behaviors by fostering trust, prescribing cheaper medications, and providing access to prescription assistance programs.


Medication adherence, Medicare part D, New Hampshire

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Medical Education | Primary Care

Medicare Part D: Avoiding the “Donut Hole” and Cost-related Medication Nonadherence