Study finds patients treated with generic statins more likely to adhere to medication regimen

A new study has found that patients prescribed a generic statin are more likely to stick to their medication regimen than those treated with a brand-name drug.

The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, also found patients treated with generic statins had lower rates of hospitalizations for acute coronary syndrome (ACS), stroke and all-cause mortality, Forbes reported.

Over a two-year period, researchers collected data from 83,731 patients, all over age 65, who were prescribed a generic statin. They then compared the data with that of 6,380 patients who were treated with a more expensive, brand-name lovastatin, pravastatin, or simvastatin drug.

The data found that 77 percent of patients prescribed low-cost generic statins stuck to their medication regime, compared to 71 percent of patients treated with brand-name statins.

“Among patients in our study, the mean copayment for the index statin prescription was $10 for generic-drug recipients and $48 for brand-name-drug recipients,” lead researcher Dr. Joshua Gagne of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital told Forbes.

“Our finding that adherence is greater with generic statins than brand-name statins is therefore not surprising and is consistent with other studies that have shown a direct relation between higher copayments and lower adherence,” Gagne said.

The research team pointed to a need for low out-of-pocket expenses in order to improve adherence.

“Gagne and colleagues make the distinction between generic and brand-name drugs, but the operating factor for patients is affordability,” the team told Forbes. “Although these findings require confirmation in other populations, they add to our understanding of the comparative effectiveness of generic medications and the importance of economic factors in medication adherence.”

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