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11-03-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Medication adherence poor in COPD patients


Free abstract

MedWire News: Adherence to respiratory medications is poor among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), say researchers who suggest that measures such as simplification of dosing regimens should be implemented where possible.

Eric Van Ganse (University Hospital Lyon, France) and team investigated respiratory medication adherence and correlates of accidental and intentional treatment interruptions in 179 COPD patients (24% female) with Global Initiative on Obstructive Lung Disease stage II–IV disease.

The participants, who were aged an average of 63 years, completed questionnaires on their adherence to prescribed respiratory medications over the previous 3 months, the overall number of daily drugs they took for any indication at the time of the study, their satisfaction with regard to the information received on COPD and therapy, and their perceived burden of therapy.

The researchers found that, overall, 45% of the patients had forgotten to take their respiratory therapy at some point over the previous 3 months, and 30% had intentionally interrupted their treatment because they perceived little benefit.

Patients who complained of having to take “too many” medications on a daily basis were 2.35 times more likely to forget to take their respiratory drugs than other patients. Current smokers were also more likely to forget to take their medication than non-smokers, at an odds ratio 2.14.

Analysis of the questionnaires revealed that female patients were 2.40 times more likely to intentionally interrupt their therapy than male patients.

The researchers also note in the Primary Care Respiratory Journal that, “surprisingly”, there was no significant association between medication adherence and the actual number of medications taken by patients on a daily basis.

Van Ganse and team conclude: “Adherence to respiratory drugs is inadequate in COPD patients. In order to improve adherence, patients’ perception of the burden of therapy should not be overlooked.

They add: “The quality of communication between caregivers and patients is a key factor in improving adherence. Specific attention should be paid to patients at higher risk of using therapy irregularly, such as current smokers. Patients’ reasons for intentional interruptions should be better understood [and] whenever possible, simplification of dosing regimens should be carried out.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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