Coordinating Prescription Refills Can Improve Compliance With Medication Regimens

New research undertaken by the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with Humana Inc. has concluded that a prescription refill synchronization program, under which patients received all refills at the same time, contributed to an increase in medication adherence by more than 10% in some patient populations. The findings may be of particular significance to pain practitioners and patients, in addressing the problem of medication regimen adherence. Lead author Jalma Doshi, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, commented, “The logistical challenges involved with keeping track of remaining pills and obtaining timely refills and renewals are magnified for patients who need to take multiple medications. Based on the results of our study, synchronized prescription programs that adjust medication refill dates so that all prescriptions are ‘due’ for a refill at the same time may be an effective strategy to reducing these obstacles.” The findings are reported this week in Health Affairs.

Medication synchronization programs are not new and are widely available, but their effectiveness has not been researched. This study compared rates of adherence between a group of 691 patients who were enrolled in a synchronized refill program and a control group of 695 who were not. The enrolled group increased their medication adherence by 3% to 5% over the control group, with even greater improvement noted in patients who had been the most nonadherent prior to the study. The authors suggest that prescription synchronization can be combined with other types of interventions to achieve even better patient outcomes.

Read a news story about the findings here.

The article abstract may be read here.

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