Medication non-adherence increased health care use in chronically ill children

Increased health care use in children and adolescents with chronic medical conditions is associated with medication non-adherence, according to recent study findings published in Pediatrics.

“The number of children and adolescents diagnosed with a chronic medical condition has been steadily increased over the past 20 years, driven in part by increases in the prevalence of obesity and asthma as well as advances in medical care that increase survival (eg, cystic fibrosis, kidney transplant),” according to background information in the study. “Increases in the prevalence of chronic medical condition have only increased the already disproportionate health care expenses accounted for by children and adolescents who have a chronic illness.”

The systematic review included 10 studies that examined the relationship between medication non-adherence and health care use or cost in children and adolescents with a chronic medical condition.

Researchers found that 90% of the studies showed a relationship between increased health care use and medication non-adherence.

“Resources allocated to improving adherence are often fairly limited,” wrote Meghan E. McGrady, PhD, and Kevin A. Hommel, PhD, both of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “In the current economic and political climate, however, increasing attention has been paid to novel approaches to improving health outcomes while reducing spending. Results of this review suggest that targeting non-adherence in children and adolescents who have a chronic illness may provide a unique opportunity to reduce health care use in a continually growing population.”

Disclosure: The study was funded in part by NIH.