Statin users who used a drug coupon for their first fill, were significantly less likely to terminate their therapy than non-coupon users. Those were the findings of a new retrospective study spanning 7 years, published in the journal Pharmacotherapy

Researchers from John Hopkins University and the University of North Carolina utilized the IMS Health LifeLink database to analyze U.S. retail pharmacy transactions between June 2006 and February 2013.

Their research uncovered 1.1 million incident atorvastatin and rosuvastatin users, of these, 2% used a coupon for at least one statin fill. 

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Results showed that at one year, coupon and non-coupon users were dispensed a similar number of monthly pill-days (23.7 vs 23.8), less coupon user’s switched statins (14.4%) compared to non-coupon users (16.3%), and coupon users were less likely to terminate therapy (31.3% compared to 39.2%).

At four years follow-up, the disparity between adherence grew slightly, with 50.6% of coupon users terminating therapy, compared to 61.1% of non-coupon users. However, coupon users were more likely to have switched; 45.5% compared to 40.8%.

Regarding costs, those who used coupons had lower monthly out-of-pocket costs, $9.70 versus $15.10, and $14.30 versus $16.60, at one year and four years, respectively.  A sensitivity analyses supported the main results.

Following their investigation into the effects of coupon and statin use, the authors concluded that coupons for branded statins are ‘associated with higher utilization and lower rates of discontinuation and short-term switching to other statin products.’

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