Patient Engagement Solutions for Medication Nonadherence in Older Adults

November 12th 2018
Amanie Khairullah, PharmD Candidate, Bryce Platt, PharmD
Amanie Khairullah, PharmD Candidate, Bryce Platt, PharmD

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Rebecca W. Chater, RPh, MPH, FAPhA
Rebecca W. Chater, RPh, MPH, FAPhA

Patient nonadherence to prescribed medications is associated with poor therapeutic outcomes, progression of disease, increased healthcare utilization, and an estimated burden of billions per year in avoidable direct healthcare costs.

Medication nonadherence is a major cause of morbidity, especially in elderly patients. Approximately 10% of hospitalizations may be a result of medication nonadherence.

It is not only an individual patient’s health problem, but also contributes up to $300 billion of avoidable healthcare costs in the United States (US) and up to 30% of wasteful spending.

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By 2030, 20% of the US population will be aged 65 years or older.

Patients over 60 years of age consume 50% of dispensed prescription drugs.

As the population continues to age, chronic disease becomes more prevalent. This translates to an increase in the volume and complexity of medication regimens, increasing the risk for nonadherence. Other factors increasing the likelihood of nonadherence in the elderly include adverse drug reactions that come with polypharmacy, decreased visibility and motor dexterity, and decreased autonomy.

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A study assessing the link between potentially inappropriate medicines and avoidable adverse drug events in patients 65 years or older found 68.9% of hospital admissions were avoidable or potentially avoidable due to inappropriate medications.

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