Despite the availability of effective therapies that lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, many eligible patients are inadequately treated and their LDL-C levels remain suboptimal. Patient nonadherence to lipid-lowering therapy (LLT) is a major contributor to the failure of LDL-C goal attainment. Several factors have been identified as contributing to LLT nonadherence, including healthcare disparities due to socioeconomic status, age, race, sex, and cost; limited access to healthcare; perceived side effects associated with LLT; health literacy; and the presence of comorbidities. Suboptimal LLT use has also been associated with clinician factors, including failure to identify patients who require LDL-C reassessment, insufficient LDL-C monitoring, and clinical inertia such as a lack of therapy intensification. Several strategies to enhance LLT adherence have been shown to be effective, including the implementation of educational initiatives and tools for both patients and physicians, the use of clinical protocols and algorithms to identify patients at risk and optimize treatment, and improvements in electronic healthcare records. Pharmacy-based programs designed to help patients with prescription refills, including reminders or the use of prescription delivery by mail, have also proven effective. Drugs requiring frequent administration can represent a barrier to treatment adherence; therefore, newer, more effective LLTs with lower frequency of administration and lower potential for polypharmacy may improve patient adherence to LLT. Implementation of strategies to identify patients at risk for LLT nonadherence and the use of flexible tools such as telemedicine to overcome geographical barriers may improve LLT adherence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine