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Room for improvement in UK CV drug adherence

Room for improvement in UK CV drug adherence

Publication date: Sunday, 12 March 2017
Contributor(s): Jeremy Bray

A recent survey confirms UK drug adherence to cardiovascular medication is lagging behind other European countries. The research used data from patients using the Medisafe adherence system.

The WHO estimates the average medication adherence rate as 50% in developed nations. Much higher rates are achieved with a personalised adherence programme, and the UK figure of 83% adherence is better than the USA, Australia and a number of South American countries.

Interestingly, patients on CV drugs are adherent every day of the week with a slight dip in performance over the weekends.  Mornings seem to be the best time for adherence with afternoon hours showing adherence on or below median rates.

Drug classes showing the best adherence rates included antiplatelet agents, anticoagulants and ACE inhibitors, whereas vasodilators, and cholesterol-lowering medications showed the lowest adherence (Table 1). The programme appears to have significant success in managing adherence to multiple therapies with 79% adherence when patients are taking more than 6 drugs compared with 82% when they were taking 1 or 2 drugs.

The research reveals the companies and brands with the best adherence rates. According to these data, the top three CV medication combinations were:

  • Atorvastatin and lisinopril
  • Lisinopril and amlodipine
  • Amlodipine and losartan

Table 1: Adherence rates reported for different cardiovascular medications

Cardiovascular medication

Adherence rates

Antiplatelet agents




ACE inhibitors   


Digitalis, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers       


Diuretics, Alpha blockers


Cholesterol-lowering medications


Vasodilators (nitrates)


The survey was carried out by Medisafe, a personalised medication management platform, with >500 million doses managed. Medisafe is a cloud-based platform that personalizes resources and interventions to help users optimise their adherence with therapy.

More information

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Topics covered:
Category: Have You Heard
Edition: Volume 2 Number 2 PCCJ Online 2017
Contributor(s): Jeremy Bray

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