Researchers in the U.K. develop urine test to measure patients’ adherence to hypertension meds

New research from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom suggests that one in three people with high blood pressure fail to take their prescribed medications.

In the study, published in the journal Hypertension, investigators used a novel urine test to yield answers on whether patients were adhering to their prescribed medications. The study, which included 1,400 hypertensive patients, was led by Pankaj Gupta, MD, a researcher at Leicester.

Results showed that 30-40 percent of patients in the study did not adhere to medication regimens. The findings are concerning to physicians since non-adherence can lead to poorer cardiovascular outcomes and is estimated to cost the U.S. economy about $100 billion.

However, the urine test developed by the investigators, called liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, could be a method to ensure more patients adhere to their meds. The researchers have set up the National Centre for Adherence Testing at Leicester’s Hospitals and now receives samples from about 25 hypertension clinics across the U.K.

Through studying those samples, they’ve found that more than 41.6 percent of the U.K. cohort and 31.5 percent of the Czech Republic cohort were non-adherent to their anti-hypertensive medications. Additionally, 14.5 percent of the U.K. and 12 percent of the Czech cohorts weren’t taking any of their medications.

"Given the high prevalence of non-adherence, we should assess patients, particularly those on multiple antihypertensive medications or those who do not have an expected response to treatment,” Gupta said in a statement.