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Few Patients, Providers Discuss Costs of Glaucoma Medications

Authors say these discussions are important, as cost is a barrier to treatment adherence

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MONDAY, Dec. 11, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Few patients have conversations with providers about the cost of glaucoma medications, according to research published in the December issue of Optometry and Vision Science.

Catherine Slota, Ph.D., from RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and colleagues conducted secondary analysis to determine the frequency and nature of patient-physician communication regarding medication cost during 275 glaucoma office visits.

The researchers found that only 87 glaucoma patients discussed the cost of medication during their office visit. Among those who did discuss cost, the majority had mild disease severity (51 percent), took one glaucoma medication (63 percent), had Medicare (49 percent), and also had a form of prescription insurance (78 percent). Providers often did not ask about possible cost issues, but of the few conversations that did occur, most focused on potential solutions (50 visits), medical and prescription service coverage (41 visits), and brand or generic medication choices (41 visits).

"As illustrated by this study, few patients initiate conversations with their providers regarding glaucoma medication costs," the authors write. "Therefore, physicians should consider bringing up medication cost during glaucoma office visits to prompt a discussion of potential cost-related barriers to medication use."

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