The complexity of the medication can play a role in whether it is abandoned: "Our findings highlight the effects of increasing the complexity of a patient's medication regimen and the importance of simplifying therapy when possible," the researchers note.
It's not a lack of options; it's that patients often don't know all their options. There are, says Rosen, a plethora of "common sense" approaches to address this. For example, she says, "poly pills" can increase adherence and reduce costs by delivering multiple therapies in one dose.
An accompanying editorial praised the researchers for identifying problems and pointing the way to solutions. "Shrank and colleagues elegantly linked pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager data to shed light on an important component of medication nonadherence, failure to collect the drug. Although this study suggests that prescription abandonment is a small component of nonadherence, it identifies several modifiable factors associated with abandonment and points the way toward solutions."