Using mail-order pharmacies may help stroke patients improve their medicines compliance significantly, a new study has found.
The researchers conducted cross-sectional analyses of patients discharged with ischaemic stroke who were prescribed a new anticoagulant and/or lipid-lowering medicines between 2006 and 2015. They examined the patients’ script refill records.
They found that overall, patients were compliant 46.48% of the time if they picked up their prescriptions from a pharmacy, compared to 73.87% of the time if they had their prescriptions mailed out to them.
Compared with those who only used local pharmacies, patients who received medications by mail were more likely to have good adherence to lipid modifiers and anticoagulants.
Adherence was calculated by looking at the initial dispensing based on the average percentage adherence and days between filling the repeat scripts.
“Mail order pharmacies are increasingly being used to deliver medications for chronic disease management,” write the authors in Stroke.
“Their use is linked to similar or even greater medication adherence than local pharmacy use.
“Stroke patients who obtain medication by mail are more likely to have good medication adherence than those who obtain them from local pharmacies.
“Future studies should examine the impact of mail-order pharmacy use on vascular risk marker control and events after stroke.”
Bruce Ovbiagele from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and the International Stroke Conference, told Managed Healthcare Executive that “Stroke patients can be especially vulnerable to suboptimal medication adherence with the typical pick from the local pharmacy because many stroke patients have lingering challenges with memory or ambulation such that having to always remember to pick up the medications directly from the pharmacy or relying on others to regularly help pick up the medications can be problematic”.
Ordering the medicines and having them delivered to the home makes it easier for patients by eliminating the need to get more when they are about to run out, he says.