And considering that depression is relatively common among patients with COPD, that could be a big problem.
This study looked at a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries who were diagnosed with COPD. Twenty percent were diagnosed with depression following a COPD diagnosis.
Those patients with COPD with a new episode of depression were less likely than those who were not depressed to stick to their medications, these University of Maryland School of Pharmacy researchers found.
In COPD, the airways are chronically obstructed, making medication adherence an important factor in patients' health.
Past research has found that depression could affect medication adherence in other conditions, but this study is the first to find that it could specifically reduce adherence to COPD medications, these researchers noted.
This study was published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.
The National Institutes of Health funded this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.