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[ Reminder Packaging Helps Patients Take Medications As Directed ]

Reminder Packaging Helps Patients Take Medications As Directed

People with chronic illnesses are more likely to take long-term medications according to doctors' instructions if the packaging includes a reminder system, according to a new review of evidence. Reminder packaging improves both the number of doses taken and clinical measures of medication effectiveness, such as blood pressure. Although most of the studies included in the review were small and of low-to-moderate quality, it provides enough evidence that policymakers and pharmaceutical companies should "sit up and take notice, " said lead author Kamal Mahtani, M.D, of the Oxford University, in England. Estimates suggest that 40 percent to 60 percent of people do not take medication as prescribed, the reviewers write. People might miss taking prescribed medication because of forgetfulness, changing medication schedules or busy lifestyles.

Adherence To Medication Supported By Integrated Health Care Delivery System And Electronic Health Records

People who receive medical care in an integrated health care system with electronic health records linked to its own pharmacy more often collect their new prescriptions for diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure medications than do people who receive care in a non-integrated system, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The study of 12, 061 men and women in Kaiser Permanente Colorado with newly ordered medications for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol found that only 7 percent of the people did not get their new prescriptions for blood pressure medication filled, 11 percent failed to pick up new prescriptions for diabetes medication, and 13 percent failed to collect new prescriptions for cholesterol-reducing medication.

Loss Of Health Insurance Through Unemployment Means Many Skip Needed Health Care

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of people who lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs over the last two years said that they skipped needed health care or did not fill prescriptions because of cost, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report. The same proportion is also struggling with medical bills or medical debt, compared to about half (49%) who lost jobs but not their health insurance. Six in 10 working Americans rely on health insurance obtained through their employer, and when an estimated 15 million working-age adults lost their jobs and their employer-based insurance between 2008 and 2010, 9 million became uninsured. Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), people employed by companies with 20 or more workers and have health insurance sponsored by that company can keep their health insurance for up to 18 months if they lose their job.

Only 1 In 5 Medicaid-Covered Kids In Ohio Finish Antidepressant Treatment

About half of Medicaid-covered children and adolescents in Ohio who are in treatment for depression complete their first three months of prescribed antidepressants, and only one-fifth complete the recommended minimum six-month course of drugs to treat depression, new research suggests. Among those at the highest risk for not completing treatment are adolescents as opposed to younger children - and minority youths, particularly African Americans, according to the analysis of Medicaid prescription data over a three-year period. Optimal follow-up visits and adequacy of antidepressant dosing was associated with better adherence during both the acute and continuation phases of treatment. Though the study was conducted in Ohio, the findings are likely to have broad relevance to Medicaid-eligible children and adolescents across the United States who share similar problems affecting their access to quality mental health care, researchers say.

Many Medicare Patients May Discontinue Medications Following Reduced Drug Funding

The lack of financial assistance to cover the cost of drugs to Medicare beneficiaries (the US government's health insurance program for people aged 65 or over, which currently covers 50 million US citizens) could result in an additional 18, 000 patients discontinuing one or more prescriptions for essential drugs a year - a 100% increase - and others to not take their required medications regularly. These findings, from a study led by Jennifer Polinski from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston, USA, and published in this week's PLoS Medicine, also show that although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services advised patients to consider switching to generic or low-cost drugs, in reality, lack of financial assistance resulted in a decrease in drug switching. The authors used data from 663, 850 Medicare beneficiaries who made prescription claims in 2006-2007 to examine the impact of government policy on essential medication use: In 2006, the government introduced a prescription drug insurance benefit called Medicare Part D to help patients pay for their drugs although patients had to pay all their drug costs after their drug spending reached an annual threshold ($2830 in 2010).

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