African Americans living in poor neighborhoods bear a high burden of illness and early mortality. Nonadherence may contribute to this burden. In a prospective cohort study of urban African Americans with poorly controlled hypertension, mortality was 47.6% over a median follow-up of 6.1 years. Patients with pill-taking nonadherence were more likely to die (hazard ratio, 1.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18-2.76) after adjustment for potential confounders. With regard to factors related to nonadherence, poor access to care such as difficulty paying for medications was associated with prescription refill nonadherence (odds ratio [OR], 4.12; 95% CI, 1.88-9.03). Pill-taking nonadherence was not associated with poor access to care; however, it was associated with factors related to treatment ambivalence including lower hypertension knowledge (OR, 2.97; 95% CI, 1.39-6.32), side effects (OR, 3.44; 95% CI, 1.47-8.03), forgetfulness (OR, 3.62; 95% CI, 1.78-7.34), and feeling that the medications do not help (OR, 2.78; 95% CI, 1.09-7.09). These data suggest that greater access to care is a necessary but insufficient remedy to the disparities experienced by urban African Americans with hypertension. To achieve its full promise, health reform must also address treatment ambivalence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine