Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Impact of Medication Adherence on Absenteeism and Short-Term Disability for Five Chronic Diseases

Carls, Ginger S. PhD; Roebuck, M. Christopher MBA; Brennan, Troyen A. JD, MD, MPH; Slezak, Julie A. MS; Matlin, Olga S. PhD; Gibson, Teresa B. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: July 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 7 - p 792–805
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31825463e9
Original Articles

Objective: To estimate the impact of medication adherence on absenteeism and short-term disability among employees with chronic disease.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of administrative health care claims, absenteeism, and short-term disability data using multivariate regression and instrumental variable models for five cohorts of employees: diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, dyslipidemia, and asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Adherence was defined as possessing medication on at least 80% of days during follow-up.

Results: Adherent employees with diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease realized between 1.7 and 7.1 fewer days absent from work and between 1.1 and 5.0 fewer days on short-term disability. Absenteeism and short-term disability days by adherent employees with congestive heart failure were not significantly different from nonadherent employees with the condition in most specifications.

Conclusions: Appropriate management of chronic conditions can help employers minimize losses due to missed work.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

From Thomson Reuters (Drs Carls and Gibson), Ann Arbor, Mich; CVS Caremark (Mr Roebuck), Hunt Valley, Md; CVS Caremark (Dr Brennan), Woonsocket, RI; CVS Caremark (Ms Slezak; Dr Matlin), Northbrook, Ill. Mr Roebuck is now with RxEconomics, Sparks, Md, and Ms Slezak is now with Silverlink Communications, Burlington, Mass. The Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters is now Truven Health Analytics (Drs Carls and Gibson).

Address correspondence to: Ginger S. Carls, PhD, Thomson Reuters, 777 East Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor, MI (

CVS Caremark provided a grant to Thomson Reuters to support this research. Study authors participated in this study as part of their employment at either CVS Caremark or Thomson Reuters.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine