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Title: Studies of antihypertensive drug persistence and adherence in the Glasgow Blood Pressure Clinic
Author: Alqadi, Abdulaziz Abdullah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 8031
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2017
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Hypertension (HTN) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases including stroke, coronary heart disease (CHD), chronic renal failure, peripheral vascular disease, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure and premature death. The prevalence of HTN in Scotland is very high and although a high proportion of the patients receive antihypertensive medications, blood pressure (BP) control is very low. Recommendations for starting a specific antihypertensive class have been debated between various guidelines over the years. Some guidelines and HTN studies have preferred to start with a combination of an antihypertensive class instead of using a single therapy, and they have found greater BP reductions with combination therapies than with monotherapy. However, it has been shown in several clinical trials that 20% to 35% of hypertensive patients could not achieve the target BP, even though they received more than three antihypertensive medications. Several factors were found to affect BP control. Adherence and persistence were considered as the factors contributing the most to uncontrolled hypertension. Other factors such as age, sex, body mass index (BMI), alcohol intake, baseline systolic BP (SBP), and the communication between physicians and patients have been shown to be associated with uncontrolled BP and resistant hypertension. Persistence, adherence and compliance are interchangeable terms and have been used in the literature to describe a patient’s behaviour with their antihypertensive drugs and prescriptions. The methods used to determine persistence and adherence, as well as the inclusion and exclusion criteria, vary between persistence and adherence studies. The prevalence of persistence and adherence have varied between these studies, and were determined to be high in some studies and low in others. The initiation of a specific antihypertensive class has frequently been associated with an increase or decrease in adherence and persistence. The tolerability and efficacy of the initial antihypertensive class have been the most common methods of explaining this association. There are also many factors that suggest a relationship with adherence and persistence. Some factors in previous studies, such as age, were frequently associated with adherence and persistence. On the other hand, relationships with certain factors have varied between the studies. The associations of age, sex, alcohol use, smoking, baseline systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP), the presence of comorbidities, an increase in the number of pills and the relationship between patients and physicians with adherence and persistence have been the most commonly investigated factors. Most studies have defined persistence in terms of a patient still taking medication after a period of time. A medication possession ratio (MPR) ≥ 80 has been used to define compliance. Either of these terminologies, or both, have been used to estimate adherence. In this study, I used the same definition for persistence to identify patients who have continued with their initial treatment, and used persistence and MPR to define patients who adhered to their initial treatment. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of persistence and adherence in Scotland. Also, factors that could have had an effect on persistence and adherence were studied. The number of antihypertensive drugs taken by patients during the study and factors that led to an increase in patients being on a combination therapy were also evaluated. The prevalence of resistance and BP control were determined by taking the BP after the last drug had been taken by persistent patients during five follow-up studies. The relationship of factors such as age, sex, BMI, alcohol use, smoking, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and albumin levels with BP reductions for each antihypertensive class were determined. Information Services Division (ISD) data, which includes all antihypertensive drugs, were collected from pharmacies in Scotland and linked to the Glasgow Blood Pressure Clinic (GBPC) database. This database also includes demographic characteristics, BP readings and clinical results for all patients attending the GBPC. The case notes for patients who attended the GBPC were reviewed and all new antihypertensive drugs that were prescribed between visits, BP before and after taking drugs, and any changes in the hypertensive drugs were recorded. A total of 4,232 hypertensive patients were included in the first study. The first study showed that angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) and beta-blockers (BB) were the most prescribed antihypertensive classes between 2004 and 2013. Calcium channel blockers (CCB), thiazide diuretics and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) followed ACEI and BB as the most prescribed drugs during the same period. The prescription trend of the antihypertensive class has changed over the years with an increase in prescriptions for ACEI and ARB and a decrease in prescriptions for BB and diuretics. I observed a difference in antihypertensive class prescriptions by age, sex, SBP and BMI. For example, CCB, thiazide diuretics and alpha-blockers were more likely to be prescribed to older patients, while ACEI, ARB or BB were more commonly prescribed for younger patients. In a second study, 4,232 and 3,149 hypertensive patients were included to investigate the prevalence of persistence in the Scottish population in 1- and 5-year studies, respectively. The prevalence of persistence in the 1-year study was 72.9%, while it was only 62.8% in the 5-year study. Those patients taking ARB and ACEI showed high rates of persistence and those taking diuretics and alpha blockers had low rates of persistence. The association of persistence with clinical characteristics was also investigated. Younger patients were more likely to totally stop their treatment before restarting their treatment with other antihypertensive drugs. Furthermore, patients who had high SBP tended to be non-persistent. In a third study, 3,085 and 1,979 patients who persisted with their treatment were included. In the first part of the study, MPR was calculated, and patients with an MPR ≥ 80 were considered as adherent. Adherence rates were 29.9% and 23.4% in the 1- and 5-year studies, respectively. Patients who initiated the study with ACEI were more likely to adhere to their treatments. However, patients who initiated the study with thiazide diuretics were less likely to adhere to their treatments. Sex, age and BMI were different between the adherence and non-adherence groups. Age was an independent factor affecting adherence rates during both the 1- and 5-year studies with older patients being more likely to be adherent. In the second part of the study, pharmacy databases were checked with patients' case notes to compare antihypertensive drugs that were collected from the pharmacy with the antihypertensive prescription given during the patient’s clinical visit. While 78.6% of the antihypertensive drugs were collected between clinical visits, 21.4% were not collected. Patients who had more days to see the doctor in the subsequent visit were more likely to not collect their prescriptions. In a fourth study, 3,085 and 1,979 persistent patients were included to calculate the number of antihypertensive classes that were added to the initial drug during the 1-year and 5-year studies, respectively. Patients who continued with treatment as a monotherapy and who needed a combination therapy were investigated during the 1- and 5-year studies. In all, 55.8% used antihypertensive drugs as a monotherapy and 44.2% used them as a combination therapy during the 1-year study. While 28.2% of patients continued with treatment without the required additional therapy, 71.8% of the patients needed additional therapy. In all, 20.8% and 46.5% of patients required three different antihypertensive classes or more during the 1-year and 5-year studies, respectively. Patients who started with ACEI, ARB and BB were more likely to continue as monotherapy and less likely to need two more antihypertensive drugs compared with those who started with alpha-blockers, non-thiazide diuretics and CCB. Older ages, high BMI levels, high SBP and high alcohol intake were independent factors that led to an increase in the probability of patients taking combination therapies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: R Medicine (General) ; RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology ; RS Pharmacy and materia medica