Researchers say older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) become lax in taking their COPD medicine after also being diagnosed with depression. The finding is based on an analysis of Medicare claims for more than 31,000 COPD patients from 2006–12, about 20% of whom were told they had depression within 24 months of receiving their COPD diagnosis. Medication adherence for COPD was generally low across the study population; however, a new depression episode was correlated with even lower odds of high compliance. "With a prevalence of 17 to 44%, depression remains one of the most common, yet least recognized and under-treated, comorbidities among patients with COPD," remarked study coauthor Linda Simoni-Wastila, PhD. She and colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy also determined that other comorbidities can reduce COPD medication adherence in older adults, too. They found poor adherence most likely in patients with three or more conditions, who may prioritize which prescriptions to fill or may find it difficult to manage multiple regimens. Simoni-Wastila added that the team hopes the findings foster a more holistic approach to health and encourage greater consideration of "how the presence of one treated or untreated medical condition may influence the progression and management of other medical conditions." The study appears online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.