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Primary nonadherence to drugs prescribed by general practitioners: a Dutch database study.

Hempenius, M., Rijken, S., Groenwold, R.H.H., Hek, K., Boer, A. de, Klungel, O.H., Gerdarsdottir, H. Primary nonadherence to drugs prescribed by general practitioners: a Dutch database study. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology: 2022, 89(1), p. 268-278.
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Primary nonadherence (PNA) is defined as not filling the first prescription for a drug treatment. PNA can lead not only to poor patient outcomes but also to exposure misclassification in written prescription databases. This study aims to estimate PNA in primary care in the Netherlands and to investigate associated factors.

Patients from the Nivel Primary Care Database who received a new prescription (>1 year not prescribed) from a general practitioner in 2012 were linked to pharmacy dispensing information of consenting pharmacies, based on sex, year of birth, 4-digit postal code and at least 50% matching ATC-codes. PNA was defined as not having a prescription dispensed within 30 days from the prescribing date. PNA was assessed overall and per drug class. The associations between PNA and several patient- and prescription-related characteristics were assessed using mixed effects logistic regression models.

After matching 86,361 of 396,251 subjects (21.8%) in the Nivel-PCD records to the pharmacy records, this study included 65,877 subjects who received 181,939 new drug prescriptions. Overall, PNA was 11.5%. PNA was lowest for thyroid hormones (5.5%) and highest for proton pump inhibitors (12.8%). Several factors were associated with PNA, such as having comorbidities (OR 1.46 95% CI [1.37-1.56] for >3 active diagnoses, compared to no active diagnoses) or reimbursement status (OR 2.78 [2.65-2.92] for not reimbursed drugs compared to fully reimbursed drugs.

11.5% of newly prescribed drugs were not dispensed. This can lead to overestimation of the actual drug exposure status when using written prescription databases.