Relationship between Social Determinants of Health and Antihypertensive Medication Adherence in a Medicaid Cohort

Marcee E. Wilder, Zhanonian Zheng, Scott L. Zeger, Angelo Elmi, Richard J. Katz, Yixuan Li, Melissa L. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Little is known about the relationship between social determinants of health (SDH) and medication adherence among Medicaid beneficiaries with hypertension. Methods: We conducted a posthoc subgroup analysis of 3044 adult Medicaid beneficiaries who enrolled in a parent prospective cohort study and had a diagnosis of hypertension based on their Medicaid claims during a 24-month period before study enrollment. We calculated the proportion of days covered by at least one antihypertensive medication during the first 12 months after study enrollment using the prescription claims data. We measured numerous SDH at the time of study enrollment and we categorized our hypertension cohort into 4 social risk groups based on their response profiles to the SDH variables. We compared the mean proportion of days covered by the different levels of the SDH factors. We modeled the odds of being covered by an antihypertensive medication daily throughout the follow-up period by social risk group, adjusted for age, sex, and disease severity using a generalized linear model. Results: The nonrandom sample was predominately Black (93%), female (62%) and had completed high school (77%). The mean proportion of days covered varied significantly by different SDH, such as food insecurity (49%-56%), length of time living at present place (47%-57%), smoking status (50%-56%), etc. Social risk group was a significant predictor of medication adherence. Participants in the 2 groups with the most social risks were 36% (adjusted odds ratio=0.64 [95% CI, 0.53-0.78]) and 20% (adjusted odds ratio=0.80 [95% CI, 0.70-0.93]) less adherent to their hypertension therapy compared with participants in the group with the fewest social risks. Conclusions: Social risks are associated with lower antihypertensive medication adherence in the Medicaid population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E008150
JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • hypertension
  • medication adherence
  • population
  • social determinants of health


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