Objective: To assess the level of adherence to angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) in patients regularly attending a community pharmacy and the influence of a change in patients' adherence to pharmacological treatment.
Design: Retrospective cohort study of a random sample of consecutive patients collecting their medication.
Setting: 40 community pharmacies in Alicante (Southeast Spain).
Participants: 602 consecutive ≥18 years old patients following treatment with ARBs at least 3 previous refills were included.
Main outcome measures: Prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure (BP) and adherence to prescribed pharmacological treatment (measured through both the Batalla and the Morisky-Green tests). A multivariate Poisson regression model was used to estimate the adjusted risk ratio (RRa) for non-adherence to pharmacological treatment by the presence of a change in patient's adherence and other significant variables.
Results: 161/602 (13.7%) patients presented uncontrolled BP. According to the Morisky test, 410/602 (68.2%) patients were considered adherent to pharmacological treatment and 231/602 (38.4%) patients according to the Batalla test. According to the Morisky-Green test, in the multivariable analysis, patients with a previous change in pill appearance were less likely to be adherent than those patients with no change in their pharmacological treatment (RRa 0.45; CI 95% 0.22 to 0.90; p=0.024). Systolic BP was higher in patients with a change in pill appearance in the previous 3 refills (median BP 142 mm Hg; IQR 136-148) than in those who did not have a change (median BP 127 mm Hg; IQR 118-135; p<0.001).
Conclusions: There was a low percentage of adherence and nearly 15% of uncontrolled BP in patients who regularly collected their medication. Switching between pills of different appearances was associated with lower patient adherence to pharmacological treatment and a higher uncontrolled BP than no change in pharmacological treatment or change only in package but not in pill appearance.
Keywords: adherence; antihypertensive treatment; appearance; community pharmacy.
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