Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) patients are routinely prescribed medications to prevent and treat complications, including those from common co-occurring comorbidities. However, adherence to such medications may be suboptimal. Therefore, we sought to identify risk factors for general medication non-adherence in a population of patients with atrial fibrillation.
Methods: Data were collected from a large, ethnically-diverse cohort of Kaiser Permanente Northern and Southern California adult members with incident diagnosed AF between January 1, 2006 and June 30, 2009. Self-reported questionnaires were completed between May 1, 2010 and September 30, 2010, assessing patient socio-demographics, health behaviors, health status, medical history and medication adherence. Medication adherence was assessed using a previously validated 3-item questionnaire. Medication non-adherence was defined as either taking medication(s) as the doctor prescribed 75% of the time or less, or forgetting or choosing to skip one or more medication(s) once per week or more. Electronic health records were used to obtain additional data on medical history. Multivariable logistic regression analyses examined the associations between patient characteristics and self-reported general medication adherence among patients with complete questionnaire data.
Results: Among 12,159 patients with complete questionnaire data, 6.3% (n = 771) reported medication non-adherence. Minority race/ethnicity versus non-Hispanic white, not married/with partner versus married/with partner, physical inactivity versus physically active, alcohol use versus no alcohol use, any days of self-reported poor physical health, mental health and/or sleep quality in the past 30 days versus 0 days, memory decline versus no memory decline, inadequate versus adequate health literacy, low-dose aspirin use versus no low-dose aspirin use, and diabetes mellitus were associated with higher adjusted odds of non-adherence, whereas, ages 65-84 years versus < 65 years of age, a Charlson Comorbidity Index score ≥ 3 versus 0, and hypertension were associated with lower adjusted odds of non-adherence.
Conclusions: Several potentially preventable and/or modifiable risk factors related to medication non-adherence and a few non-modifiable risk factors were identified. These risk factors should be considered when assessing medication adherence among patients diagnosed with AF.
Keywords: Adherence; Anticoagulants; Cardiology; Epidemiology; Warfarin.