The Impact of Mail Order Pharmacies on Medication Adherence

Researchers compare prescription refill records among patients who refill medications via mail order and traditional pharmacy.

Survivors of a stroke who use mail order pharmacies are 74% more likely to remain adherent to their medication regimen, a recent study found.

Research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2016 evaluated the association between patients remaining adherent to their stroke medications and the use of mail order pharmacies.

Prescription refill records of patients discharged with ischemic or clot-caused stroke were studied from 24 hospitals. These patients received new anticoagulant and cholesterol-lowering medications between 2006 and 2015.

The study included a total of 48,746 patients who refilled at least one of the medications, which included 205,085 prescriptions for statins, with 136,722 prescriptions received at the pharmacy and 68,363 via mail. For anticoagulants, there were 50,483 prescriptions with 34,682 received via pharmacy and 15,801 received by mail.

The results of the study showed that overall adherence for patients who picked up medications from the pharmacy was 47% compared with 74% who used mail order pharmacy.

Stroke patients who used local pharmacies were 56.4% adherent to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, compared with mail order pharmacy adherence at 88%.

For anticoagulants, the adherence was 45% for local pharmacies and 56% for mail order pharmacies.

In future research, investigators will examine the impact mail order pharmacy has on stroke prevention and vascular health post stroke.