Medication Non-adherence: Is Cost Connected?

Long-term management of chronic conditions is important but can be difficult for many patients. As a result, non-adherence can be common in this group. And although the advancements in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatments have grown and there are numerous options for disease management, agents such as biologics bring with them high costs to patients – which can lead to less utilization of medication, according to a review in Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism. 

In this systematic review, researchers aimed to determine whether out-of-pocket (OOP) costs affect adherence to RA medications in adults with a diagnosis of RA. Researchers used data from 12 databases to identify primary peer-reviewed articles, from inception to April 2016; the articles had to refer to the relationship between adherence to RA medication and OOP costs. Through these specific requirements, 6 articles were chosen and used in this review. 

Results of the review suggests that OOP costs can contribute to non-adherence to RA medication in patients with RA. “Therefore, health policy makers globally should identify the appropriate OOP amount, so these costs do not affect adherence whilst simultaneously ensuring that costs are not an intolerable burden for governments, providers and insurers,” the researchers concluded. 

For more on RA, check out an article on the association of swallowing issues and RA. 

SOURCE: Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism