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Highly specific reasons for nonadherence to antiretroviral therapy: results from the German adherence study

Authors Boretzki J, Wolf E, Wiese C, Noe S, Balogh A, Meurer A, Krznaric I, Zink A, Lersch C, Spinner CD

Received 14 May 2017

Accepted for publication 30 August 2017

Published 8 November 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 1897—1906


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Johanna Boretzki,1,2 Eva Wolf,3 Carmen Wiese,4 Sebastian Noe,4 Annamaria Balogh,3 Anja Meurer,5 Ivanka Krznaric,6 Alexander Zink,7 Christian Lersch,1 Christoph D Spinner1,2

1Department of Medicine II, University Hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar, Munich, 2German Center for Infection Research, Partner Site Munich, 3MUC Research, Munich, 4MVZ Karlsplatz, HIV Clinical Care Center, Munich, 5Center for Infectiology and Internal Medicine, Munich, 6Center for Infectiology Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, 7Department of Dermatology and Allergology, University Hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar, Munich, Germany

Background: Reasons for and frequency of nonadherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) may have changed due to pharmacological improvements. In addition, the importance of known non-pharmacologic reasons for nonadherence is unclear.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional, noninterventional, multicenter study to identify current reasons for nonadherence. Patients were categorized by physicians into the following adherence groups: good, unstable, or poor adherence. Co-variables of interest included age, sex, time since HIV diagnosis, ART duration, current ART regimen, HIV transmission route, comorbidity, HIV-1 RNA viral load (VL), and CD4 cell count. Patients self-reported the number of missed doses and provided their specific reasons for nonadherent behavior. Statistical analyses were performed using Fisher’s extended exact test, Kruskal–Wallis test, and logistic regression models.
Results: Our study assessed 215 participants with good (n=162), unstable (n=36), and poor adherence (n=17). Compared to patients with good adherence, patients with unstable and poor adherence reported more often to have missed at least one dose during the last week (good 11% vs unstable 47% vs poor 63%, p<0.001). Physicians’ adherence assessment was concordant with patients’ self-reports of missed doses during the last week (no vs one or more) in 81% cases. Similarly, we found a strong association of physicians’ assessment with viral suppression. Logistic regression analysis showed that “reduced adherence” – defined as unstable or poor – was significantly associated with patients <30 years old, intravenous drug use, history of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and psychiatric disorders (p<0.05). Univariate analyses showed that specific reasons, such as questioning the efficacy/dosing of ART, HIV stigma, interactive toxicity beliefs regarding alcohol and/or party drugs, and dissatisfaction with regimen complexity, correlated with unstable or poor adherence (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Identification of factors associated with poor adherence helps in identifying patients with a higher risk for nonadherence. Reasons for nonadherence should be directly addressed in every patient, because they are common and constitute possible adherence intervention points.

human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, antiretroviral therapy, ART, adherence, nonadherence, patients’ beliefs

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