On-Site Prescription Dispensing Improves Antidepressant Adherence among Uninsured Depressed Patients

Samuel K. Powell, Claire L. Gibson, Ibeawuchi Okoroafor, Josimar Hernandez-Antonio, Elisa M. Nabel, Yasmin S. Meah, Craig L. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The successful treatment of depressive disorders critically depends on adherence to prescribed treatment regimens. Despite increasing rates of antidepressant medication prescription, adherence to the full treatment course remains poor. Rates of antidepressant non-adherence are higher for uninsured patients and members of some marginalized racial and ethnic communities due to factors such as inequities in healthcare and access to insurance. Among patients treated in a free, student-run and faculty-supervised clinic serving uninsured patients in a majority Hispanic community in East Harlem, adherence rates are lower than those observed in patients with private or public New York State health insurance coverage. A prior study of adherence in these patients revealed that difficulty in obtaining medications from an off-site hospital pharmacy was a leading factor that patients cited for non-adherence. To alleviate this barrier to obtaining prescriptions, we tested the effectiveness of on-site, in-clinic medication dispensing for improving antidepressant medication adherence rates among uninsured patients. We found that dispensing medications directly to patients in clinic was associated with increased visits at which patients self-reported proper adherence and increased overall adherence rates. Furthermore, we found evidence that higher rates of antidepressant medication adherence were associated with more favorable treatment outcomes. All patients interviewed reported increased satisfaction with on-site dispensing. Overall, this study provides promising evidence that on-site antidepressant dispensing in a resource-limited setting improves medication adherence rates and leads to more favorable treatment outcomes with enhanced patient satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-1107
Number of pages15
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Antidepressants
  • Immigrant mental health
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Medication adherence
  • Outpatient psychiatry
  • Student-run clinic


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