Identifying and Understanding Barriers and Facilitators to Medication Adherence Among Marshallese Adults in Arkansas

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Background: Significant health disparities are present in Marshallese adults residing in the United States, most notably a high incidence of type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions. There is limited research on medication adherence in the Marshallese population. Objective: This study explored perceptions of and experiences with medication adherence among Marshallese adults residing in Arkansas, with the aim of identifying and better understanding barriers and facilitators to medication adherence. Methods: Eligible participants were Marshallese adults taking at least one medication for a chronic health condition. Each participant completed a brief survey and semistructured interview conducted in Marshallese by a bilingual Marshallese staff member. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and translated from Marshallese to English. Qualitative data were coded for a priori and emergent themes. Results: A total of 40 participants were included in the study. The most common contributing factor for nonadherence was forgetting to take medication (82%). A majority of participants (70%) reported difficulty paying for medicine, 45% reported at least one form of cost-related nonadherence, and 40% engaged in more than one cost-related nonadherence practice. Family support and medication pill boxes were identified as facilitators for medication adherence. The majority of the participants (76.9%) stated that they understood the role of a pharmacist. Participants consistently desired more education on their medications from pharmacy providers. Conclusion: This is the first study to explore barriers and facilitators to medication adherence among Marshallese patients. The findings can be used to develop methods to improve medication adherence among Marshallese.

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