Complex antithrombotic therapy: Determinants of patient preference and impact on medication adherence

Neena S. Abraham, Aanand D. Naik, Richard L. Street, Diana L. Castillo, Anita Deswal, Peter A. Richardson, Christine M. Hartman, George Shelton, Liana Fraenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: For years, older patients have been prescribed multiple blood-thinning medications (complex antithrombotic therapy [CAT]) to decrease their risk of cardiovascular events. These therapies, however, increase risk of adverse bleeding events. We assessed patient-reported trade-offs between cardioprotective benefit, gastrointestinal bleeding risk, and burden of self-management using adaptive conjoint analysis (ACA). As ACA could be a clinically useful tool to obtain patient preferences and guide future patient-centered care, we examined the clinical application of ACA to obtain patient preferences and the impact of ACA on medication adherence. Patients and methods: An electronic ACA survey led 201 respondents through medication risk-benefit trade-offs, revealing patients’ preferences for the CAT risk/benefit profile they valued most. The post-ACA prescription regimen was categorized as concordant or discordant with elicited preferences. Adherence was measured using VA pharmacy refill data to measure persistence of use prior to and 1 year following preference-elicitation. Additionally, we analyzed qualitative interviews of 56 respondents regarding their perception of the ACA and the preference elicitation experience. Results: Participants prioritized 5-year cardiovascular benefit over preventing adverse events. Medication side effects, medication-associated activity restrictions, and regimen complexity were less important than bleeding risk and cardioprotective benefit. One year after the ACA survey, a 15% increase in adherence was observed in patients prescribed a preference-concordant CAT strategy. An increase of only 6% was noted in patients prescribed a preference-discordant strategy. Qualitative interviews showed that the ACA exercise contributed to increase inpatient activation, patient awareness of preferences, and patient engagement with clinicians about treatment decisions. Conclusion: By working through trade-offs, patients actively clarified their preferences, learning about CAT risks, benefits, and self-management. Patients with medication regimens concordant with their preferences had increased medication adherence at 1 year compared to those with discordant medication regimens. The ACA task improved adherence through enhanced patient engagement regarding treatment preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1657-1668
Number of pages12
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
StatePublished - Nov 19 2015


  • Cardiovascular medications
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Medication adherence
  • Patient activation
  • Patient preference
  • Risk-benefit communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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