By Natasja Sheriff
NEW YORK | Thu Aug 2, 2012 5:54pm EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Weekly rewards of as little as $5 could keep people on track with their medications, says a new study.
“It helps the patient understand that we are serious about helping them get treated,” said Dr. Deb Sodt, who leads the Minnesota Department of Health Tuberculosis Prevention & Control Program and was not involved in the new work.
Recent studies suggest that fewer than half of people don’t follow doctors’ medication orders, even for life-threatening conditions. Around 130,000 people die each year in the United States because they don’t take their medication to prevent heart disease, for example. (See Reuters Health story of July 25, 2012:.)
For the new study, Dr. Nancy Petry and her team at the University of Connecticut looked at 21 studies that offered incentives to people taking medication for tuberculosis, substance abuse, HIV, hepatitis, schizophrenia and stroke prevention.
One-third of the studies offered people with tuberculosis (TB) weekly rewards of $5 to $10 to stick to their treatment schedules.