Oral Anticancer Agent Influence on Adherence in Patients With Multiple Myeloma, Chronic Conditions


A study from the 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting examined the effect that oral anticancer agent initiation may have on adherence rates in patients with multiple myeloma and chronic conditions.

Study results featured at the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting demonstrated the effect of oral anticancer agent (OAA) initiation on medication adherence in patients with multiple myeloma (MM) and chronic conditions.

Advancements in treatment options for patients with MM have allowed for significant increases in 5-year survival rates over the last few decades, resulting in more emphasis on the management of comorbid chronic conditions. The study authors wrote that early analyses showed that OAA initiation for MM “may correspond to significant reductions in adherence to chronic disease medications.”

The retrospective cohort study, funded by AstraZeneca, included adults (n=2765) diagnosed with and receiving treatment for MM between 2013 and 2018 who had at least 2 claims for an OAA indicated for MM, had continuous enrollment for 12 months before and after OAA initiation, and were previously diagnosed with 2 chronic conditions and were taking prescription medications for select chronic conditions. The investigators used data from the IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters databases, as well as a 20% sample of Medicare claims data, to gather eligible patients.

According to investigators, hypertension (94.5%) and hyperlipidemia (69.2%) were the most common comorbid conditions among patients with MM. Mean OAA adherence in the first year of therapy and for commercial and Medicare patients was 55.8% (SD:23.5) and 63.5% (SD: 26.9), respectively. In the first year, the proportion of days covered (PDCs) for comorbid therapies declined following OAA initiation “irrespective of payer, and the proportion adherent to these therapies (PDC 80%) also declined consistently,” the study authors wrote.

“OAA adherence tended to align with the direction of changes in comorbid therapy adherence with those nonadherent to their OAA, demonstrating general declines in comorbid therapy PDCs post-OAA initiation,” the authors wrote. “The starting of OAA therapy facilitates an opportunity for providers to reinforce the need for total regiment adherence to improve the odds of positive cancer- and non-cancer-related outcomes,” they concluded. 


1. Gatwood J, Dashputre A, Wallace A, et al. Changes in chronic disease medication adherence following oral anticancer agent initiation in patients with multiple myeloma. 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting; June 4-8, 2021; virtual. Accessed June 2, 2021.

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