Background: Pharmacy database medication refill studies provide a panoramic view of medication-taking behavior in patients nationally.
Objective: To investigate fluticasone propionate/salmeterol combination (FSC) adherence, including the factors associated with refill adherence in a large national pharmacy database.
Methods: Adherence and persistence were documented for 12 months from date of initial FSC prescription in 5504 patients who filled their medication at a nationwide pharmacy chain.
Results: On average, patients filled enough medication to cover 22.2% of days. More than half the patients filled a 30-day prescription only once over the 1-year interval. Higher adherence levels were associated with being male, being older than 35 years, having a comorbid disorder, a having a copay of 1.01 dollar to 10 dollars, previous beta2-agonist use, and a prescription for higher-dose FSC.
Conclusion: This pharmacy database study portrays medication adherence levels to be considerably lower than those reported in most clinical trials, suggests that most adults taking FSC obtain a single fill before abandoning their controller medication, and indicates a need for a reappraisal of current treatment guidelines and educational strategies for both providers and patients.
Clinical implications: For many patients, filling of a controller medication is markedly discrepant with practice guidelines. Reappraisal of both the guidelines and strategies to implement them is in order.