Many Acne Patients Don't Take Their Meds, Survey Shows
Cost, forgetfulness, skin improvement were reasons cited for lapses
FRIDAY, March 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Many acne patients do not take all their recommended medications, a small new study suggests.
Researchers surveyed 143 acne patients and found that 27 percent of them did not obtain or use all of the prescription and over-the-counter products suggested by their dermatologists.
"Non-adherence is a pervasive problem in all of medicine, particularly when treating chronic conditions such as acne," study author Dr. Steven Feldman, a professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., said in a Wake Forest news release.
"A previous study reported a 10 percent primary non-adherence rate for acne patients, so we were surprised that what we found was more than twice that," Feldman added.
In this latest study, patients who were prescribed two medications were most likely to not get or use a medication (40 percent), compared with 31 percent of those prescribed three or more medications and 9 percent of those prescribed one medication.
There were no significant differences in medication non-adherence based on age or gender, according to the researchers.
The investigators also found that patients were less likely to fill prescriptions for topical medications (creams, lotions) than for pills. In addition, over-the-counter products were less likely to be obtained than prescription drugs, and paper prescriptions were less likely to be filled than electronic ones.
The study was published online March 20 in the journal JAMA Dermatology.
"The study showed that patients are more inclined to follow the treatment regimen when only one medication is prescribed," Feldman said. "Multiple agents are typically required to address the multiple factors that cause acne, but simplifying treatment regimens by prescribing products that contain two or more active ingredients could prove effective in reducing non-adherence."
The researchers did not examine why acne patients did not get their prescriptions filled, but many participants said it was due to things such as cost, forgetfulness, already having similar medicines, not agreeing with the prescribed treatment and improvement of their acne.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about acne treatment.