Background: Previous research indicates that many patients with hypertension ran out of medications and had difficulties getting refills immediately after Hurricane Katrina. The extended effect of Hurricane Katrina on antihypertensive medication adherence is not well characterized.
Methods: Data were analyzed for 2194 participants who completed the baseline survey for the Cohort Study of Medication Adherence among Older Adults between August 2006 and September 2007. Based on pre-Katrina zip codes, the study population was categorized into high- and low-affected areas. Low medication adherence was defined as a score less than 6 on the 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale.
Results: Prevalence of low adherence was similar among participants living in high and low affected areas. Low medication adherence was similar for participants with greater than or less than 25% of the residence damaged by Hurricane Katrina and for participants with and without symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In high affected areas, nonsignificant associations were present for those who had moved since the storm and those with a friend or immediate family member who had died in the month after the storm. These factors were not associated with low medication adherence in low affected areas. In both high- and low-affected areas, lower scores on the hurricane coping self-efficacy scale were associated with low medication adherence (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: The effect of Hurricane Katrina on patient adherence to antihypertensive medication was limited in the second year after the storm. Intrinsic patient factors, such as low coping self-efficacy, remain important factors associated with low adherence.