Patients affected by depression less likely to adhere to COPD maintenance medication

29 June, 2016

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Maryland found that patients with COPD are less likely to adhere to recommended maintenance medication if they are affected by depression

Data was collected from 31,033 newly diagnosed COPD patients, of which 20% were diagnosed with depression. Researchers found that overall adherence to maintenance medication was low for all patients, peaking at a rate of 57% in the month following initial diagnosis, and decreasing to 35% within six months of diagnosis.

Data from the study showed that the most vulnerable group were older females who had stayed in care homes, who were also more likely to suffer from other medical conditions including associated dementia, and who had suffered more severe COPD symptoms following an initial diagnosis of depression.

The researchers advise clinicians that treat older patients to look out for the development of depression during the first six months following COPD diagnosis, and to monitor patients’ adherence to prescribed medication to ensure treatment is most effective.

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