Factors associated with medication adherence among people living with COPD: Pharmacists' perspectives

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Exploratory Research in Clinical and Social Pharmacy


Background: While medication is an integral part of the effective management of COPD, more than 50% of people living with COPD do not adhere to their prescribed medications. The drivers underpinning this observed behaviour are poorly understood. As pharmacists generally have the final interaction with patients prior to their use of medications, their perspectives may offer insights about patients' medication use that may improve our understanding of this complex issue. Objective: This study explored pharmacists' experiences of providing care for patients living with COPD to gain insight about factors that impact their medication-taking behaviour. Methods: Fourteen pharmacists who worked in practice settings across the South-East Queensland region of Australia participated in interviews between March 2019 and January 2020. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analysed. Results: Two overarching themes were identified which modulated medication-taking behaviour. Barriers comprised patient-related factors including, financial constraints, poor inhaler technique, and inaccurate beliefs; alongside pharmacist-related factors such as a lack of COPD-specific training and time constraints. Factors that promote adherence included patient education and monitoring and collaborative relationships between key stakeholders. Conclusions: Medication non-adherence is common. While pharmacists expressed a desire to better support their patients, practical strategies to overcome the challenges that they face in clinical settings are lacking. Future research should focus on exploring ways to engage patients at the pharmacy level thereby enhancing the provision of services that would optimise medication adherence.



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