(HealthDay News) — Sending medication adherence reminders following fresh-start dates (life and calendar events indicating the start of new cycles) is not effective for increasing medication adherence, according to a research letter published online Feb. 8 in JAMA Cardiology.

Hengchen Dai, Ph.D., from Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues mailed reminders to 13,323 participants encouraging them to regularly take their cholesterol, diabetes, or blood pressure medications. Participants were randomized to one of five mailing conditions: within one week before each participant’s birthday (birthday framed and unframed conditions); three weeks after New Year’s Day (new year framed and unframed conditions); and control condition without any reference to fresh-start dates. The framed conditions highlighted the participant’s birthday or New Year’s Day as an opportunity to make a fresh start and begin taking medications regularly.

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The researchers found that the mean proportion of days covered was 63.3 percent over 90 days after mailing. The proportion of days covered did not differ significantly in the birthday unframed, birthday framed, new year unframed, or new year framed conditions (mean difference, 0.56, 0.55, 1.32, and 0.38 percent, respectively), compared with the control condition. The results were not significant comparing the birthday framed and unframed conditions (mean difference, −0.02 percent) or the new year framed and unframed conditions (−0.93 percent).

“Contrary to our expectations, sending reminders following fresh-start dates was not associated with increased medication adherence,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Humana, and to the health care industry.

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