Home hemodialysis is associated with a lower pill burden than in-center hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, according to a recently published study.

In a study of 236 dialysis patients in Greater Manchester East sector renal network in the United Kingdom, researchers found that the mean pill burden for home hemodialysis (HHD) patients was 11 pills per day, which was significantly less than the 16 pills per day for patients receiving in-center hemodialysis (MHD) and peritoneal dialysis (PD).

HHD patients also required significantly fewer blood pressure medications to meet the recommended target (1.1 pills per day versus 2.7 and 3.0 pills per day for patients receiving MHD and PD, respectively), researchers reported in the Clinical Kidney Journal (2014;7:557-561). In addition, compared with HHD, MHD and PD were associated with a 3.9 and 4.9 times increased odds, respectively, of a daily pill burden of 15 pills or more.

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The pill burden advantage seen in HHD may result in greater medication adherence and might contribute to the outcome benefit often seen with this modality, the investigators stated. “Higher clearances achieved by HHD could explain differences in [pill burden] with PD but the precise reasons for lower PB remain speculative and deserve further research in larger settings,” the authors concluded.