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Does Initiation of Oral Anticancer Agent Therapy for Myeloma Affect Adherence to Medications for Chronic Conditions?

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Monday, August 15, 2022

Adherence to medications for preexisting chronic conditions may decline in adults initiating oral anticancer agent therapy for multiple myeloma, according to a study published in JCO Oncology Practice. “Initiating oral anticancer agent therapy in adults with multiple myeloma may complicate an already complex treatment regimen, resulting in poor overall medication adherence in patients with multiple comorbid conditions,” stated Justin Gatwood, PhD, MPH, of the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy, Memphis, and colleagues.

In this retrospective cohort study, commercial (n = 585) and Medicare (n = 1,865) claims data from 2013 to 2018 were employed to assess medication use in patients with multiple myeloma who began oral anticancer agent therapy and had been previously diagnosed with at least two select chronic conditions. Medication adherence was assessed by comparing the 12 months before and after the initiation of oral anticancer agent use.

In the first year of therapy, the mean adherence to oral anticancer agents was 58.3% and 65.1% for commercial and Medicare patients, respectively; adherence to comorbid therapy generally declined in this first year as well. Patients in both the commercial and Medicare samples who were nonadherent to oral anticancer medications also tended to have higher disease and treatment burden for chronic conditions.

In patients on antihypertensive therapy, changes in medication use were particularly noticeable. Adjusted analyses revealed a 2.5% (Medicare) and 5.2% (commercial) difference in adherence to these medications between those initially adherent and nonadherent to oral anticancer agent therapy (both P < .05).

“Clinicians must consider the entire regimen when counseling patients on the importance of medication adherence in achieving stated treatment goals,” concluded the authors.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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