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Residents in disaster areas face medication adherence dilemmas

ORLANDO, Fla., March 1 -- Many New Orleans residents had problems with prescription drugs for high blood pressure after Hurricane Katrina, researchers reported today at the American Heart Associations 47th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

"The results of our study generally represent patients who were able to return for clinic visits in an establishment that was undamaged," said Marie A. Krousel-Wood, M.D., M.S.P.H., lead author of the study, director of the Center for Health Research at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation and clinical professor of Epidemiology and Community Medicine at Tulane Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. "It is possible that medication adherence was affected much more in patients who were unable to return to their homes and their home-based facilities. If that is so, these results could underestimate the real issue and the potential for improvement in disaster planning."

First, researchers surveyed 215 patients treated at Ochsner, using the Hill-Bone medication adherence subscale questionnaire and general questions about the extent of hurricane damage the patients experienced.

A subset of 78 patients then answered a more detailed questionnaire that sought to pinpoint barriers to medication adherence, defined as taking their medication as prescribed without missing doses.

Researchers found that while 55 percent of the 215-person study group reported perfect medication adherence, the 78-patient subset reported substantial barriers to taking their medications as prescribed following the hurricane and flood. Those problems included:

  • 10 percent didnt bring their medicines with them when they evacuated;
  • 32 percent didnt bring enough medicine and ran out;
  • 15 percent reported trouble getting their prescriptions filled after the disaster;
  • 30 percent reported a medication change post-disaster for reasons that could have included a change in their condit
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Contact: Karen Astle
karen.astle@heart.org
214-706-1392
American Heart Association
1-Mar-2007


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