Medco Research Institute (MRI), a subsidiary of Medco Health Solutions and Quest Diagnostics, has announced the Additional KIF6 Risk Offers Better Adherence to Statins (AKROBATS) study data.

The study examined medication adherence of 1,294 patients, of which half were provided with a laboratory-developed gene test to measure kinesin-like protein 6 (KIF6) carrier status, while the other half in the control group did not receive a genetic test.

The study found that patients who were provided written information about their KIF6 gene test improved overall adherence to statin therapy over six months, the trial’s primary end point, by 13% compared to those that had not received the gene test.

Genetic tests can help physicians accurately diagnose and treat disease, but now the study provides evidence that pharmacogenetic testing can also improve patient adherence to prescription drug therapy.

MRI senior director and study principal investigator Scott Charland said medication adherence is an important global issue in patient care, particularly for evidence-based therapies that help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk and cost burden of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.

"This is the first prospective study to show that genetic testing, and subsequently providing patients their test results, has clinical utility through improving adherence to a specific drug therapy, a finding that could open-up a whole new way of thinking about the benefits of pharmacogenetic testing," Charland added.

MRI vice president and senior author of the study Eric Stanek said: "Given the well-established relationship between increasing statin adherence and reduced cardiovascular events and overall costs, as well as improved workplace productivity, it’s exciting to begin thinking about genetic testing or other personalised medicine approaches as useful new tools to empower and motivate patients to increase adherence and persistence."

MRI is an evidence-based research organisation focused on research, analytics and new discoveries that bridges the gap between scientific discovery and medical practice for improved patient outcomes and lower overall healthcare costs.