Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Medication Adherence in Young Adults With Youth-Onset Type 2 Diabetes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



JAMA network open








IMPORTANCE: Youth-onset type 2 diabetes is associated with early development of chronic complications. Treatment of elevated blood pressure (BP), nephropathy, and dyslipidemia are critical to reduce morbidity. Data are needed on adherence to BP- and lipid-lowering medications in young adults with youth-onset diabetes. OBJECTIVE: To assess adherence and factors associated with adherence to BP- and lipid-lowering medications in young adults with youth-onset type 2 diabetes and diagnoses of hypertension, nephropathy, or dyslipidemia. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This cohort study measured medication adherence with 3 monthly unannounced pill counts at 2 time points 1 year apart during iCount, conducted during the last years (2017-2019) of the observational phase of the Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth study. Psychosocial factors associated with medication adherence were examined. Participants included individuals with youth-onset type 2 diabetes with hypertension, nephropathy, or dyslipidemia receiving diabetes care in their communities. Data were analyzed from September 2022 to September 2023. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The main outcome was BP- and lipid-lowering medication adherence, with low adherence defined as using less than 80% of pills and high adherence, at least 80% of pills. Psychosocial factors were measured using the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire and Material Needs Insecurities Survey. RESULTS: Of 381 participants in iCount, 243 participants (mean [SD] age, 26.12 [2.51] years; 159 [65.43%] women) with hypertension, nephropathy, or dyslipidemia were included in analysis. Among 196 participants with hypertension or nephropathy, 157 (80.1%) had low adherence. Participants with low adherence, compared with those with high adherence, were younger (mean [SD] age, 25.99 [2.41] vs 27.26 [2.41] years; P = .005), had higher glycated hemoglobin A1c (mean [SD], 10.33% [2.66 percentage points] vs 8.85% [2.39 percentage points]; P = .001), shorter diabetes duration (mean [SD], 12.32 [1.49] vs 12.90 [1.46] years; P = .03), and less education (eg, 17 participants [10.83%] vs 0 participants with no high school diploma; P = .004). Of 146 participants with dyslipidemia, 137 (93.8%) had low adherence and only 9 participants (6.2%) had high adherence. Of 103 participants with low adherence to BP-lowering medications and using oral hypoglycemic agents, 83 (80.58%) had low adherence to oral hypoglycemic agents. Beliefs that medications are necessary were higher for participants with high adherence to BP-lowering medications than those with low adherence in unadjusted analyses (mean [SD] necessity score, 16.87 [6.78] vs 13.89 [9.15]; P = .03). In adjusted multivariable analyses of participants with hypertension or nephropathy, having at least 1 unmet social need (odds ratio [OR], 0.20; 95% CI, 0.05-0.65; P = .04) and medication concerns (OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.40-0.96; P = .01) were associated with worse medication adherence 1 year follow-up. Diabetes distress, self-efficacy, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and self-management support were not associated with 1-year medication adherence. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: These findings suggest that adherence to BP- and lipid-lowering medications was very poor in this cohort. To improve medication adherence and prevent early vascular events, approaches that identify and address medication concerns and unmet social needs are needed.


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