Take Your Medicine!

Failure to reach LDL (“bad”) cholesterol targets is a common problem for people with diabetes. Achieving those goals may have much to do with adherence to taking statin meds.

A study was done to assess the relationship between adherence to statin therapy and achieving LDL cholesterol targets (LDL less than 100 mg/dl) in patients with diabetes and lipid abnormalities. The records of patients being treated for lipid abnormalities in a managed care diabetes program from January 2001 to December 2002 were used to compute a nine-month medication possession ratio (MPR)—which is the percentage of days a medication is available to the patient based on records of pharmacy prescription refills. Overall, 44 percent of the participants in the study achieved an LDL cholesterol level less than 100 mg/dl.

“. . . MPR was significantly higher in patients who achieved the LDL cholesterol target than in those who did not (0.82 versus 0.61),” write the researchers. They add that pharmacy records can be used to identify patients who do not adhere to statin therapy and who are at high risk for failure to attain LDL cholesterol goals

“Because outcomes are directly related to patients’ medication-taking behavior, when clinical goals (such as serum cholesterol levels) are not being reached, adherence should be the first item assessed by the clinician.”

Diabetes Care, March 2005

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