KEY POINTS

  • Nearly one in two Americans are under prescription medications
  • Younger American women are skipping more drugs due to cost
  • Non-adherence to medications could lead to worsening of their health condition

A new study pointed out that one in four younger women in the U.S. does not adhere to prescription medicines due to cost. Not filling or delaying prescriptions, skipping doses, or splitting pills can make patients risk compromising the benefits of their treatment, especially for those living with chronic ailments.

Nearly one in two Americans are under prescription medications, pointed out a survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. With almost half of the nation’s population taking prescription drugs, it could be surprising that there is an improvement in this compared to the previous decade.

Unstable living environments, limited access to health care, medication cost, lack of financial resources, and burdensome work schedules are some of the reasons associated with decreased adherence rates.

To understand the extent of this issue, the experts at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health studied surveyed data collected from 11 different high-income nations. Their findings revealed that the largest disparities for non-adherence occurred among the younger American women compared to those of other countries. The results are published in the journal Health Affairs.

The Study:

The research team compared cost-related non-adherence to prescription drugs among younger and older men and women in high-income nations including Canada, Australia, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

They found that compared to men, women might be more vulnerable to cost-related non-adherence to prescription medications due to higher health needs and lower financial resources.

While one in four younger women reported cost-related non-adherence, just one in seven younger men reported the same. Even after adjusting for other factors including age, income, and chronic conditions, the gender disparity in cost-related non-adherence to medications prevailed.

But this was only among the younger individuals in the age group 18 to 64. The researchers didn’t find any significant male-female differences among older individuals (aged 65 and older) in adjusted analyses in any of these high-income nations.

"Higher rates of cost-related nonadherence among younger women, and U.S. women, in particular, may produce important sex-related disparities in health outcomes that should be further explored," said the researchers in their paper published in the journal Health Affairs.

prescription drugs More Younger American Women Skipping Prescription Medications Due to Cost Photo: rtdisoho, Pixabay