Estimating Adherence Based on Prescription or Dispensation Information: Impact on Thresholds and Outcomes. A Real-World Study With Atrial Fibrillation Patients Treated With Oral Anticoagulants in Spain

Isabel Hurtado-Navarro, Aníbal García-Sempere, Clara Rodríguez-Bernal, Yared Santa-Ana-Tellez, Salvador Peiró, Gabriel Sanfélix-Gimeno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To estimate drug exposure, Proportion of Days Covered (PDC) and percentage of patients with PDC ≥ 80% from a cohort of atrial fibrillation patients initiating oral anticoagulant (OAC) treatment. We employed three different approaches to estimate PDC, using either data from prescription and dispensing (PD cohort) or two common designs based on dispensing information only, requiring at least one (D1) or at least two (D2) refills for inclusion in the cohorts. Finally, we assessed the impact of adherence on health outcomes according to each method. Methods: Population-based retrospective cohort of all patients with Non Valvular Atrial Fibrillation (NVAF), who were newly prescribed acenocoumarol, apixaban, dabigatran or rivaroxaban from November 2011 to December 2015 in the region of Valencia (Spain). Patients were followed for 12 months to assess adherence using three different approaches (PD, D1 and D2 cohorts). To analyze the relationship between adherence (PDC ≥ 80) defined according to each method of calculation and health outcomes (death for any cause, stroke or bleeding) Cox regression models were used. For the identification of clinical events patients were followed from the end of the adherence assessment period to the end of the available follow-up period. Results: PD cohort included all patients with an OAC prescription (n = 38,802), D1 cohort excluded fully non-adherent patients (n = 265) and D2 cohort also excluded patients without two refills separated by 180 days (n = 2,614). PDC ≥ 80% ranged from 94% in the PD cohort to 75% in the D1 cohort. Drug exposure among adherent (PDC ≥ 80%) and non-adherent (PDC < 80%) patients was different between cohorts. In adjusted analysis, high adherence was associated with a reduced risk of death [Hazard Ratio (HR): from 0.82 to 0.86] and (except in the PD cohort) the risk for ischemic stroke (HR: from 0.61 to 0.64) without increasing the risk of bleeding. Conclusion: Common approaches to assess adherence using measures based on days' supply exclude groups of non-adherent patients and, also, misattribute periods of doctors' discontinuation to patient non-adherence, misestimating adherence overall. Physician-initiated discontinuation is a major contributor to reduced OAC exposure. When using the PDC80 threshold, very different groups of patients may be classified as adherent or non-adherent depending on the method used for the calculation of days' supply measures. High adherence and high exposure to OAC treatment in NVAF patients is associated with better health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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