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Diverse Reasons Cited for Skipping Diabetes, Pain Meds

Economic pressures, mood disorders, negative opinion of medication figure into non-adherence

MONDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Financial pressures may cause patients who take both pain and diabetes medications to forgo both, but those who selectively cut out only diabetes medications often do so because of depression or negative beliefs about the medications, according to a study in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

Jacob E. Kurlander, M.D., of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues studied cost-related non-adherence to medications (CRN) among 245 patients using both diabetes and chronic pain medications. In interviews, the subjects provided demographic, income and educational information, and were asked if costs ever necessitated they cut back on either both medications, only diabetes medications, only pain medications, or neither medications.

The researchers found that 9 percent of subjects reported cutting back on both medications, 13 percent on diabetes medications only, 9 percent on pain medications only, and 69.4 percent did not cut back on either. An annual income of $20,000 or lower, or monthly medication costs above $50 increased CRN odds for both diabetes and pain medications versus neither. Low-income subjects tended to forgo pain medications, and subjects with depressive symptoms and negative medication beliefs tended to cut back on medications for diabetes.

"Patients who forgo medications for both diabetes and chronic pain appear to be influenced primarily by economic pressures, whereas patients who cut back selectively on their diabetes treatments are influenced by their mood and medication beliefs. Our findings point toward more targeted strategies to assist diabetic patients who experience CRN," the authors write.

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