CHICAGO – Medication adherence for patients with chronic diseases is not improved by the use of low-cost reminder devices, according to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“Low-cost reminder devices did not improve adherence among non-adherent patients who were taking up to three medications to treat common chronic conditions,” said the study’s authors.
The goal of the trial was optimal adherence to all eligible medications among patients with chronic diseases during 12 months of follow-up.
Secondary outcomes included optimal adherence to cardiac medications among patients with chronic diseases, as well as optimal adherence to antidepressants.
The four-arm, block-randomized clinical trial involved 53,480 enrollees of CVS Caremark, a pharmacy benefit manager, across the U.S. Participants were 18-64 years of age taking one to three oral medications for long-term use.
Patients were randomized to receive in the mail a pill bottle strip with toggles, a digital timer cap or a standard pillbox. The control group received neither notification nor a device.
“There was no statistically significant difference in the odds of optimal adherence between the control and any of the devices,” said the authors.
While the study found the low-cost devices did not improve adherence, the authors said they might be more effective if coupled with interventions to ensure consistent use.