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HII 99-054 – HSR Study

HII 99-054
A Medication Adherence Intervention for HIV Infected Veterans
Allen L. Gifford, MD
VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA
San Diego, CA
Funding Period: July 2000 - December 2002
It is estimated that the VHA is caring for nearly 40 percent of all HIV-infected veterans. To benefit from recent improvements in anti-HIV therapy, patients need to take their medications consistently.

Optimizing health for HIV patients requires excellent adherence to antiretroviral medication regimens. However, its unclear how best to incorporate adherence education and support programs into VA HIV outpatient care. We implemented and evaluated a pharmacist program (ACE) and a Pager reminder program to support adherence in veterans with HIV.

We used a quasi-experimental design with pre-post evaluation at four VA Centers. Three treatment conditions (ACE, Pager, Usual Care) were rolled-in sequentially over two study phases, allowing for group comparisons between conditions. ACE is a multi-component manualized 4-session, individual patient education and support program by trained pharmacists. The Pager intervention used alphanumeric pagers to remind patients of dosing times. Electronically-monitored medication adherence (MEMS), self-report questionnaires, and pharmacy refill records were collected. Qualitative site interviews were collected before and after interventions to assist with program evaluation. Multilevel mixed models were used to analyze main study outcomes over time. Secondary analyses compared subgroup who actually received all ACE sessions (“as treated”) to controls.

We enrolled 291 HIV+ veterans. Medication adherence rates were far below guidelines, averaging 80-85% at baseline, and decreasing further over time to less than 60%. Veterans assigned to ACE did not have significantly better medication adherence than Usual Care across all adherence measures. Mean adherence in the Pager reminder group was not significantly different than Usual Care. In subgroup analyses, survival analyses of time to regimen failure showed significantly longer time to failure in those who received 4 ACE sessions than Usual Care (p= 0.023). Baseline antiretroviral-naïve patients who received 4 ACE sessions had higher levels of MEMS adherence than Usual Care.

Referral to a 4-session pharmacist medication adherence support program did not improve short-term antiretroviral adherence, nor did provision of a pager to remind patients of doses.

The problem of nonadherence to HIV medications within the VA is large, important, and challenging. More intensive interventions to improve medication prescribing in veterans with HIV are necessary and specific high-risk populations such as drug-naïve patients may be more likely to benefit. Future interventions should be tailored, using adherence assessments to better diagnose nonadherence and select problems to be addressed.

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None at this time.

DRA: Health Systems
DRE: none
Keywords: Education (patient), Education (provider), HIV/AIDS
MeSH Terms: HIV

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