Study Finds Drug Costs Keep People with Lupus from Taking Medications as Prescribed
Compared to the general population, people with lupus are less likely to follow their therapy as prescribed due to costs. In a new study, skipping doses, taking less medication and delaying prescription refills were identified as measures taken to save money. Yet, less than 1 in 4 people with lupus ask their physicians for less expensive medications.
A group of healthy people (192) and people with lupus (462) were examined. About 22% of those with lupus and 10.4% of those healthy indicated that they did not take their medication as prescribed in the preceding 12 months due to cost. Those with lupus (23.8%) asked their physician for lower-cost drug options (vs. 15.6% of those healthy), and 12.1% of people with lupus and 9.4% of the healthy group said they were not able to access their medications. Disparities associated with income, race and health insurance status were also discovered.
Medication adherence is a known challenge in lupus treatment. Following therapy as prescribed is important, and not doing so can lead to poor outcomes, including increased flare activity, severe disease and hospitalization. Understanding challenges to medication adherence is vital to healthier outcomes. The Lupus Foundation of America’s advocacy work includes the creation of a National Lupus Patient Registry and increasing funding for research, which led to this investigation.
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