Assessment of Medication Regimen Complexity of COPD Regimens in Individuals Visiting Community Pharmacies

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International Journal of COPD


Purpose: Non-adherence is common and linked to poor COPD outcomes. Medication Regimen Complexity Index (MRCI) scores affect other disease outcomes. Little is known about the implications of MRCI scores in COPD. Secondary analysis was done to calculate MRCI scores assessing relationship to symptoms, COPD severity and health literacy (HL) to identify potential interventions to optimize adherence. Patients and Methods: Secondary analysis was conducted of cross-sectional, non-randomized survey data. Participants with self-reported COPD completed a survey of demographics, exacerbations, symptoms (COPD Assessment Test (CAT)), and self-reported COPD regimens. COPD severity was classified into Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) ABCD categories using exacerbation history and CAT. CAT scores were categorized as low (<10), high (>10) and very high (>20). A 1-year proportion of days covered (PDC) was calculated. A MRCI calculator scored regimens (primary endpoint). Published cut-off points were used to categorize MRCIs as low (≤4), medium (5–8) and high (>8) and inhaled device polypharmacy (IDP) as ≥3 devices. Risk for low HL was assessed using a Single Item Literacy Screener. Descriptive and Chi-squared statistics were used. Results: Participants’ (N = 709) PDC for 1 maintenance medicine averaged 0.43 ± 0.37; 28.7% were adherent (PDC ≥ 80%). CAT scores were very high in 54.6% and high in 35.8%. Distribution of GOLD categories were A (6%), B (35%), C (4%) and D (55%). High, medium and low MRCI were 85%, 14% and 9%, respectively. Mean devices per regimen was 2.05 ± 0.8; IDP was 28%. MRCI and IDP increased with worsening CAT scores and COPD severity per GOLD category (p<0.05), but not low HL. Conclusion: MRCI scores for COPD regimens increased with COPD severity and symptoms. Overall adherence was low despite high symptom scores; high MRCI scores could contribute. All COPD medication classes are available in multiple devices, combinations, and daily formulations; there is potential to simplify regimens. Prospective studies are needed to evaluate if interventions minimizing MRCI scores improve adherence and COPD outcomes.

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