Background: Adherence to medications is an important factor that contributes to therapeutic success. With the current increase in the elderly population, information relating to adherence to treatment and quality of life (QoL) of diabetic elderly patients will help the healthcare provider to improve their treatment. Thus, this study aims to determine the factors affecting adherence to medications and the consequence of non adherence to QoL.
Materials and methods: This was a cross-sectional study using validated Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS) Questionnaire. This study was conducted to assess the level of adherence on oral hypoglycemic medications (OHM) and quality of life of the Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) elderly patients in an urban health centre in Malaysia. A retrospective medication record review was also conducted to collect and confirm data on patients' demographics, diagnosis, treatments, and outcomes.
Results: One hundred and seventy nine patients were recruited in this study. Median adherence score was 7.75 (IQR 6.50- 8.00). Good adherer was observed in 48.00% of the participants. A Chi-square test indicated significant correlation between adherence and HbA1c (p= 0.010). The mean elderly diabetes mellitus Problem Areas in Diabetes (PAID) score was 6.30 ±SD 8.50. A significant inversed association was observed between PAID score and the level of adherence (r = - 0.175, p< 0.05). A highly significant difference in the low adherence group (p = 0.002). PAID score significantly correlated with age (years), female gender and HbA1c (p <0.05). A negative association between HbA1c levels and adherence was identified where a 1% increase in HbA1c was associated with a 30% decrease in the likelihood of being adherent.
Conclusion: A medication adherence rate of 48% was obtained among elderly T2DM patients treated in the primary care clinic. This study showed that HbA1c is a relevant tool to assess patient glycemic control and adherence. Sociodemographic characteristics were not statistically significantly associated with adherence. We reported a negative correlation between adherence and T2DM related emotional distress. The identified factors that relieve emotional distress of the elderly T2DM patients are similar with the western countries.
Keywords: HbA1c; Malaysia; Morisky medication adherence scale; PAID score and public health care.