Influence of the number of daily pills and doses on adherence to antiretroviral treatment: a 7-year study

A seven year retrospective study was conducted to draw a relationship between retroviral medication adherence, and the number of pills patients have to take.  The location was the University Hospital of Salamanca, Spain.  There were two levels of adherence established; greater than or equal to 95%, or less than 95%.  There were 264 patients who were studied.  The mean age was a little over 40 years old, and they had been a part of the antiretroviral treatment (ART) for 5.35 years.

One thing examined in this study is the shift from twice a day, and even three times a day medications to simply once a day medications.  The baseline number of patients who were taking their medications once a day was 10.  By the end of the study, there were 129 patients taking their medication once a day.  Those taking their medication three times a day went from 7 patients to 0 patients.   The average number of pills the patients had to take daily decreased from six to four throughout the study.

The study found that there was no correlation between adherence and the number of pills the patients had to take.  However, the study does clarify that the correlation could be non-existent for the specific setting/type of patients that were examined.  They found that it matters more to patients the frequency of the medications than the number of pills the patient has to take due to the disruption of the patients’ lives when having to take the pills at different times of the day.

Do you believe that there would be no correlation if the medication was treating a less serious diagnosis?  Have you ever found that having to take medications throughout the day interrupted your daily life?

J Clin Pharm Ther. 2016;41(1):34-39. 

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