Authors: Neuner JM, Fergestrom NM, Laud PW, Nattinger AB, Beyer KMM, Flynn KE, Pezzin LE
Title: The association of pharmacy fill synchronization with breast cancer endocrine therapy adherence.
Journal: Cancer 125(22):3960-3965
Date: 2019 Nov 15
PubMed ID: 31373689
Abstract: BACKGROUND: One-third to one-half of patients prescribed adjuvant endocrine therapy are nonadherent during the recommended 5-year endocrine therapy course. This study investigated whether poor pharmacy synchronization of medication fills (requiring refills on different days) acts as a barrier to adherence. METHODS: A cohort of older women with stage 0 to III endocrine receptor-positive breast cancer in 2011 was identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Result-Medicare claims-linked cancer registry. Women with endocrine therapy and at least 1 other medication fill were identified, and the 3-month synchronization of their fills was calculated as 1 minus the quotient of the number of pharmacy visits and the number of filled medications. Regression models were used to examine the association between synchronization (in quartiles adjusted for the number of medications) and adherence to endocrine therapy (defined as a medication possession ratio ≥80%) over the subsequent year. RESULTS: During the 3 months after the first endocrine therapy prescription, the study cohort of 3212 women had a mean of 8.6 pharmacy visits (standard deviation, 4.7) with a mean synchronization of 0.3 (standard deviation, 0.2). Those in the third (odds ratio, 1.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.59) and fourth (most) medication number-adjusted synchronization quartiles (odds ratio, 1.49; 95% confidence interval, 1.19-1.86) were more likely to be adherent than those in the least. Multivariate model predictions showed that the proportion of patients who were adherent over 1 year varied from 68.9% in the least synchronized quartile to 76.6% in the most synchronized one. CONCLUSIONS: Prescription refill synchronization is strongly associated with adherence to endocrine therapy. Efforts to improve adherence should address this.