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HomeminewsGeneric Glaucoma Drugs: Greater Compliance

Generic Glaucoma Drugs: Greater Compliance

Glaucoma patients who switched from a brand name drug to its generic counterpart were more likely to take their medication than those who remained on the brand name drug, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center and College of Pharmacy.

The study, published online in Ophthalmology, looked at medication adherence rates 18 months before and after the first generic prostaglandin analogue (PGA) glaucoma drug became available in March 2011. It studied 8,427 patients with open-angle glaucoma who were 40 years and older and were taking PGAs. All patients in the study had health insurance.

Patients who remained on brand name drugs were 39 per cent more likely to experience a decline in adherence compared to those who switched to the newly-available generic drug latanoprost.

Dr. Joshua D. Stein, glaucoma specialist and health services researcher at the Kellogg Eye Center said although failing to takeglaucoma medication as prescribed can result in loss of vision or even blindness, many patients struggled with adherence.

…many patients struggled with adherence

That’s because eye drops can be difficult to use, medication regimens may be complicated, and patients may not understand theconsequences of poor adherence. Additionally, the study found the cost of drugs was a deterrent. “Some of my patients take as many as three or four different classes of these medications, and a number end up paying as much as $100 out-of-pocket every month for their medication,” says Dr. Stein.

Dr. Stein noted that 612 individuals or 7.3 percent of the study group discontinued treatment altogether at the time the generic drug became available.

“If clinicians suspect that a patient is struggling with medication adherence, it may be a good idea to switch them from a brand name to a generic drug,” said Dr. Stein.