A protocol to evaluate the efficacy, perceptions, and cost of a cholesterol packaging approach to improve medication adherence.



Elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a major modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), a leading cause of death in the United States. Despite clinical practice guidelines aimed at facilitating LDL-C control, many Veterans do not achieve guideline-recommended LDL-C levels.


We describe a study focused on VA healthcare system users at risk for CVD (i.e., LDL-C level >130 mg/dl and/or <80% cholesterol pill refill adherence in the last 12 months). We are conducting a two and a half year randomized controlled trial (i.e., intervention administered over 12 months) among Veterans with uncontrolled cholesterol receiving care at select VA-affiliated primary care clinics in North Carolina. We anticipate enrolling 250 diverse patients (10% women; 40% African American). Patients are randomized to an educational control group or intervention group. Intervention group participants' medication is provided in special blister packaging labeled for daily use that includes reminders; MeadWestvaco Corporation's pre-filled DosePak® contains standard doses of statins in accordance with the existing prescriptions.


Pre-filled blister packaging may provide an inexpensive solution to improve medication adherence. Our study enrolls a diverse sample and provides information about whether an adherence packaging intervention can: 1) improve medication adherence; 2) improve patients' LDL-C levels; 3) be well received by patients and providers; and 4) provide a cost effective solution to improve medication adherence.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Zullig, Leah L, Joshua Pathman, S Dee Melnyk, Jamie N Brown, Linda L Sanders, Celine Koropchak, Teresa Howard, Susanne Danus, et al. (2014). A protocol to evaluate the efficacy, perceptions, and cost of a cholesterol packaging approach to improve medication adherence. Contemporary clinical trials, 39(1). pp. 106–112. 10.1016/j.cct.2014.08.003 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/30026.

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Leah L Zullig

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Leah L. Zullig, PhD, MPH is a health services researcher and an implementation scientist. She is a Professor in the Duke Department of Population Health Sciences and an investigator with the Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT) at the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Dr. Zullig’s overarching research interests address three domains: improving cancer care delivery and quality; promoting cancer survivorship and chronic disease management; and improving medication adherence. Throughout these three area of foci Dr. Zullig uses an implementation science lens with the goal of providing equitable care for all by implementing evidence-based practices in a variety of health care environments. She has authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications. 

Dr. Zullig completed her BS in Health Promotion, her MPH in Public Health Administration, and her PhD in Health Policy.

Areas of expertise: Implementation Science, Health Measurement, Health Policy, Health Behavior, Telehealth, and Health Services Research


Hayden Barry Bosworth

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Bosworth is a health services researcher and Deputy Director of the Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT)  at the Durham VA Medical Center. He is also Vice Chair of Education and Professor of Population Health Sciences. He is also a Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Nursing at Duke University Medical Center and Adjunct Professor in Health Policy and Administration at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests comprise three overarching areas of research: 1) clinical research that provides knowledge for improving patients’ treatment adherence and self-management in chronic care; 2) translation research to improve access to quality of care; and 3) eliminate health care disparities. 

Dr. Bosworth is the recipient of an American Heart Association established investigator award, the 2013 VA Undersecretary Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research (The annual award is the highest honor for VA health services researchers), and a VA Senior Career Scientist Award. In terms of self-management, Dr. Bosworth has expertise developing interventions to improve health behaviors related to hypertension, coronary artery disease, and depression, and has been developing and implementing tailored patient interventions to reduce the burden of other chronic diseases. These trials focus on motivating individuals to initiate health behaviors and sustaining them long term and use members of the healthcare team, particularly pharmacists and nurses. He has been the Principal Investigator of over 30 trials resulting in over 400 peer reviewed publications and four books. This work has been or is being implemented in multiple arenas including Medicaid of North Carolina, private payers, The United Kingdom National Health System Direct, Kaiser Health care system, and the Veterans Affairs.

Areas of Expertise: Health Behavior, Health Services Research, Implementation Science, Health Measurement, and Health Policy

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