November 07, 2018
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Women more likely to not take diabetes medications due to cost

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Soumitra Bhuyan
Soumitra S. Bhuyan

Women with diabetes were 30% more likely than men to not take their medications because of costs, according to findings recently published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

“We hypothesized that we would find gender differences in medication nonadherence due to costs among diabetic patients,” Soumitra S. Bhuyan, PhD, MPH an assistant professor in the division of health systems, management, and policy at the School of Public Health at the University of Memphis told Healio Family Medicine.

Bhuyan and colleagues analyzed National Health Interview Survey data of 5,260 men and 6,188 women with diabetes for more than a year. In the entire sample, they found that 29.9% asked for cheaper medications, 14.6% postponed filling prescriptions, 12.2% took less medication than prescribed and 11.8% skipped medication.

Women were more likely to skip medication (OR = 1.3; 95% CI, 1.09-1.55), take less than prescribed medication (OR = 1.26; 95%, CI, 1.06-1.5), ask for cheaper medication (OR = 1.17; 95% CI, 1.04-1.32) and postpone filling prescriptions (OR = 1.29; 95% CI, 1.11-1.5) than men.

“Our study adds new knowledge in that it found that the cost of medication affects females with diabetes more than males with diabetes. Costs are a significant barrier among female patients and the costs may restrict them from adhering to their medication,” Bhuyan said in the interview.

“It does seem possible to take actions to address this problem,” he continued. “Increasing the use of electronic medical records could generate better information for providers. Also, since medication nonadherence can lead to increased health care spending, payers may want to rethink the potential benefits of providing these medications and of programs aimed at enhancing adherence.” - by Janel Miller

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.