BACKGROUND: Poor adherence to medical treatment may have considerable consequences for the patients' health and for healthcare costs to society. The need to understand the determinants for poor adherence has motivated several studies on socio-demographics and comorbidity. Few studies focus on the association between risk attitude and adherence. The aim of the present study was to estimate associations between patients' adherence to statin treatment and different dimensions of risk attitude, and to identify subgroups of patients with poor adherence.
METHODS: Population-based questionnaire and register-based study on a sample of 6393 persons of the general. Danish population aged 20-79. Data on risk attitude were based on 4 items uncovering health-related as well as financial dimensions of risk attitude. They were collected through a web-based questionnaire and combined with register data on redeemed statin prescriptions, sociodemographics and comorbidity. Adherence was estimated by proportion of days covered using a cut-off point at 80 %.
RESULTS: For the dimension of health-related risk attitude, "Preference for GP visit when having symptoms", risk-neutral and risk-seeking patients had poorer adherence than the risk-averse patients, OR 0.80 (95 %-CI 0.68-0.95) and OR 0.83 (95 %-CI 0.71-0.98), respectively. No significant association was found between adherence and financial risk attitude. Further, patients in the youngest age group and patients with no CVD were less adherent to statin treatment.
CONCLUSION: We find some indication that risk attitude is associated with adherence to statin treatment, and that risk-neutral and risk-seeking patients may have poorer adherence than risk-averse patients. This is important for clinicians to consider when discussing optimal treatment decisions with their patients. The identified subgroups with the poorest adherence may deserve special attention from their GP regarding statin treatment.