Understanding of medications and associations with adherence, unmet needs, and perceived control of risk factors at two years post-stroke

Lachlan L. Dalli, Nadine E. Andrew, Joosup Kim, Dominique A. Cadilhac, Frank M. Sanfilippo, Amanda G. Thrift, Mark R. Nelson, Natasha A. Lannin, Muideen T. Olaiya, Olivia F. Ryan, Brenda Booth, Seana Gall, Monique F. Kilkenny, on behalf of the PRECISE investigators

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Background: It is unclear whether survivors of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) routinely receive, and understand, education about secondary prevention medications. Objectives: To investigate whether survivors of stroke/TIA understand explanations about their prescribed prevention medications and associations with medication adherence, control of risk factors, and unmet needs. Methods: A survey was administered among survivors of stroke/TIA (random sample N = 1500) from the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry (Victoria and Queensland, 2016). Participants reported whether they understood explanations about each prescribed medication, as well as their unmet needs, perceived control of risk factors, and 30-day medication adherence. Linked pharmacy claims data were also used to determine medication adherence in the previous two years (proportion of days covered ≥80%). Outcomes were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression or multivariable negative binomial regression for frequency of unmet needs. Results: Overall, 630/1455 eligible survivors completed the survey at ≈2.5 years post-admission (median age 69 years; 37% female). Most participants reported using prevention medications (76% antihypertensive; 84% antithrombotic; 76% lipid-lowering) but only 66–75% reported they understood explanations about their medication (75% antihypertensive; 66% antithrombotic; 74% lipid-lowering). Participants who understood explanations about their medication more often reported 30-day adherence for antihypertensive (adjusted odds ratios [aOR]: 1.96; 95% CI: 1.20–3.19), antithrombotic (aOR: 2.03; 95% CI: 1.31–3.14) and lipid-lowering medications (aOR: 1.73; 95% CI: 1.08–2.76). Similar associations were observed for antihypertensive and antithrombotic medications when pharmacy claims data were used to infer 2-year medication adherence. Understanding explanations about medications was also associated with perceived control of risk factors (hypertension: aOR: 11.08; 95% CI: 6.04–20.34; cholesterol aOR: 8.26; 95% CI: 4.72–14.47) and up to 33% fewer unmet needs related to secondary prevention. Conclusions: Expanded efforts are needed to improve the delivery of information about prevention medications to promote medication adherence, control of risk factors, and potentially prevent unmet needs following stroke/TIA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3542-3549
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Medication adherence
  • Medication counselling
  • Patient understanding
  • Patient-reported outcomes
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Stroke

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