Does med adherence affect work health?

While medication adherence is a critical element in reducing the impact of illness, employers should view it as just one of many components that are needed in strategic employee health management initiatives.1

Researchers analyzed data from over 64,000 workers with chronic health conditions at five employers. Even in a population with high medication adherence, individuals with high health risks and comorbid medical conditions were still significant predictors of workplace productivity loss.

The researchers did find some reduction in health-related productivity loss when employees complied with taking prescribed medications for medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

However, unless the employees reduced their health risks, such as obesity and smoking, they often still experienced lower job performance. "Their health risks continued to impact them," says Ron Loeppke, MD, MPH, FACOEM, the study's lead author.

To get to the root causes of decreased productivity, you'll need to offer employees a full spectrum of prevention efforts to reduce health risks. "This keeps healthy people healthy, while screening for earlier detection of health risks and conditions that can be reduced and managed," he says.


1. Loeppke R, Haufle V, Jinnett K, et al. Medication adherence, comorbidities, and health risk impacts on workforce absence and job performance. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine 2011; 53(6):595-604.


For more information on medication adherence and workplace productivity, contact:

• Ron Loeppke, MD, MPH, FACOEM, FACPM, Vice Chairman of the Board, U.S. Preventive Medicine, Inc. Phone: (615) 289-5393. Fax: (615) 373-2946. E-mail: