(HealthDay News) – Based on a Medicaid claims model, among New York City (NYC) Medicaid participants, adherence to chronic medications is inadequate, with considerable racial disparities noted.

Kelly A Kyanko, MD, MHS, from the New York University School of Medicine in NYC, and colleagues retrospectively analyzed New York State Medicaid claims data from 2008–2009 to describe the rates and predictors of medication adherence. The medication possession ratio was used to measure adherence for NYC Medicaid patients with dyslipidemia, diabetes, or hypertension.

The researchers found that adherence to medication regimens was 63%. Older patients, males, and those taking medications from >3 drug classes had greater adherence. Blacks and Hispanics were less likely to be adherent, compared to whites (adjusted odds ratios, 0.67 and 0.76, respectively), while Asians were as likely to be adherent. Racial disparities were identified in NYC Medicaid participants on stable medication regimens for chronic diseases.

“Medicaid claims datasets have traditionally been used for research in medication adherence. This study demonstrates a method for use by public health departments to promote action,” the authors write. “Public health departments are well placed to address adherence rates and reduce disparities by working across local provider systems. This simple method of assessing adherence can guide related efforts and improve health outcomes.”

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