Factors associated with early nonpersistence among patients experiencing side effects from a new medication


Alefan Q, Yao S, Taylor JG, Lix LM, Eurich D, Choudhry N, Blackburn DF. Factors associated with early nonpersistence among patients experiencing side effects from a new medication. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003) 2022;62:717-726.e5.

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BACKGROUND: Drug discontinuation (i.e., nonpersistence) is often attributed to the emergence of adverse effects. However, it is not known whether other factors increase the risk of nonpersistence when adverse effects occur. OBJECTIVES: To identify factors associated with early nonpersistence among patients experiencing adverse effects from newly prescribed medications. METHODS: A questionnaire was mailed to new users of antihypertensive, antihyperglycemic, and lipid-lowering medications in Saskatchewan, Canada, between 2019 and 2020. Only respondents experiencing adverse effects were included. Responses were compared between the nonpersistent group (i.e., people who had discontinued their medication) and the persistent group (i.e., those who were taking their medication at the time of the survey). Statistically significant factors were tested in multivariable logistic regression models. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs were reported. RESULTS: Of the 3973 returned questionnaires, 813 respondents experienced adverse -effects from their new medication and were included in the study. Of these, 143 respondents (17.5%) had stopped their medication at the time of survey completion; most discontinuations (72.1%) occurred within 1 month of the first dose. Nonpersistent patients were older, had lower income, and were less likely to be taking an antihyperglycemic medication. After covariate adjustment, 6 factors were independently associated with nonpersistence: age less than 65 years (OR 1.56 [95% CI 1.01-2.41]), female sex (1.67 [1.08-2.59]), health condition not considered dangerous (2.09 [1.25-3.51]), medication not considered important for health (6.90 [4.40-10.84]), failure to expect adverse effects before starting medication (2.67 [1.74-4.10]), and taking 2 or more medications (0.45 [0.27-0.73]). CONCLUSION: Despite the strong link between the emergence of adverse effects and early nonpersistence, our findings confirm that this association is highly influenced by several factors external to the physical experiences caused by the new medication.


1544-3450Alefan, QaisYao, ShenzhenTaylor, Jeffrey GLix, Lisa MEurich, DeanChoudhry, NiteeshBlackburn, David FJournal ArticleUnited States2022/01/05J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2022 May-Jun;62(3):717-726.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2021.12.001. Epub 2021 Dec 7.

Last updated on 05/26/2022