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Deborah Leader, RN

Many Medicare Patients With COPD Unable To Afford Inhalers

By September 22, 2010

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If you are a COPD patient on Medicare who has been non-compliant with your inhalers due to their associated high costs, don't feel alone. Nearly one-third of all Medicare patients with COPD are in the same boat.

Researchers from Tufts Medical Center in Boston looked at 16,072 Medicare patients with COPD and found that 31% of them could not afford their inhalers and were therefore non-compliant with their treatment program.  Moreover, the risk of non-compliance was even greater in patients who had a copay of at least $20 than with those who had no copay.

COPD inhalers are commonplace in COPD treatment and, for many patients, they substantially reduce daily symptoms. The impact of patients not being able to afford their inhalers has the potential to be dramatic,  particularly when it comes to controlling dyspnea. Doctors should be aware of the relationship between non-compliance and affordability of medications, and try to help if they can, by providing samples or prescribing alternative inhalers with copayments that patients are able to afford.

For more information about how to save money on your medications, visit http://copd.about.com/od/livingwithcopd/tp/saveonmeds.htm

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