Factors Affecting Adherence to Diabetes Treatments

(HealthDay News) — Factors associated with adherence to medications for treatment of diabetes include experience with diabetes therapy and related costs, thus efforts to reduce out-of-pocket costs may result in higher adherence, according to research findings published in Diabetes Care.

M. Sue Kirkman, MD, from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of a pharmacy claims database to examine patient, medication and prescriber factors associated with antidiabetic medication adherence. 

Data were included for more than 200,000 patients treated with noninsulin medications. A modified adherence measure was used that accounted for changing therapies.

The researchers found that adherence, defined as a medication possession ratio ≥0.8, was 69%. Independent correlations were seen for adherence with older age, male gender, higher education, higher income, use of mail order vs. retail pharmacies, primary care vs. nonendocrinology specialist prescribers, higher daily pill burden and lower out-of-pocket costs. 

The likelihood of adherence was significantly lower for patients who were new to diabetes therapy.

“For all patients, efforts to reduce out-of-pocket costs and encourage use of mail order pharmacies may result in higher adherence,” the researchers.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; the study was partially funded by Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi.


  1. Kirkman MS et al. Diabetes Care. 2015;doi:10.2337/dc14-2098.