People with high blood pressure are three times less likely to take their medications regularly if they have caretaking responsibilities for children or other relatives, says Marie Krousel-Wood, a researcher at Tulane University. Additionally, people who feel they can’t see a doctor when they need to are two times more likely to report poor adherence to prescribed medicines.
“Nationally we know that only one in three people with high blood pressure have the condition under control. Poor adherence to prescribed medications is a key factor contributing to poor blood pressure control,” says Krousel-Wood, professor of family and community medicine. “We wanted to investigate factors that affect people’s ability to take their medications as prescribed.”
Krousel-Wood, in partnership with the Ochsner Clinic Foundation, investigated adherence with prescribed medications in a group of 295 urban patients in a public clinic diagnosed with high blood pressure in the year before the study began.
Interviewers collected self reports of medication use as well as lifestyle details by phone between January and August 2005. According to Krousel-Wood, others reporting higher rates of poor adherence to prescriptions include current smokers, males, African-Americans, younger people and those earning less than $1000 a month.
Krousel-Wood recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a four-year cohort study of medication adherence in older adults involving more participants.
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD