Evaluation of a packaging approach to improve cholesterol medication adherence.


Elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a major modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death in the United States. Our goal was to evaluate a simple, scalable, and affordable medication packaging method for improving cholesterol medication adherence and subsequently lowering LDL-C levels.Mixed-method study.This mixed-method study involved US military veterans with LDL-C levels greater than 130 mg/dL and/or less than 80% refill adherence of cholesterol-lowering medication in the last 12 months; they were randomized to an education-only (control) group or an adherence packaging intervention group. Adherence packaging group participants' statin medication was provided in special blister packaging labeled for daily use that included written reminder prompts. Outcomes included 12-month cholesterol medication possession ratio (MPR) for medication refills; baseline, 6-, and 12-month self-reported cholesterol medication use; LDL-C and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels; and total cholesterol changes over 12 months. Qualitative evaluation of the intervention is presented as well.We enrolled 240 individuals (120 intervention, 120 control). Overall, 54.2% of the adherence packaging intervention group was adherent per MPR over 12 months compared with 46.6% of the education-only group (difference = 7.6%; 95% confidence interval, -5% to 20%; P ≤.24). Both arms reported improvements in self-reported cholesterol adherence at 12 months, and decreases in LDL-C, HDL-C, and total cholesterol were observed, but differences in change between arms were not statistically significant. Qualitatively, patients reported high levels of satisfaction with the blister package.In a sample of US veterans, prefilled calendared blister packaging provided an inexpensive method for improving cholesterol medication adherence.







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


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


Maren Karine Olsen

Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Health services research, longitudinal data methods, missing data methods

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