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Racial/Ethnic Differences ID'd in HTN Medication Behaviors

For adults with hypertension who are new users of antihypertensive medication, racial/ethnic differences in medication-taking behavior occur early in the course of treatment and may be mediated by health system factors, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Alyce S. Adams, PhD, from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, and colleagues used a hypertension registry to examine potential health system solutions to suboptimal use of antihypertensive therapy. A retrospective cohort study was conducted and included 44,167 adults with hypertension who were new users of antihypertensive agents in 2008.

The researchers found that one in five patients were nonadherent to therapy and more than 30% were early nonpersistent, with both types of suboptimal behavior more likely in nonwhites than whites. After adjustment for sociodemographic, clinical, and health system factors, blacks, Asians, and Hispanics had increased odds of early nonpersistence (odds ratios, 1.56, 1.40, and 1.46, respectively) and nonadherence (odds ratios, 1.55, 1.13 [95% confidence interval, 1.00 to 1.28], and 1.46, respectively). There was variation in the likelihood of early nonpersistence between Asians and Hispanics based on the choice of first-line therapy. When adjusting for medication copayment and mail-order pharmacy use, racial and ethnic differences in nonadherence were attenuated appreciably.

"Racial/ethnic differences in medication-taking behavior occur early in the course of treatment," the authors wrote. "However, health system strategies designed to reduce patient copayments, ease access to medications, and optimize the choice of initial therapy may be effective tools in narrowing persistent gaps in the use of these and other clinically effective therapies."

Source: HealthDay News