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Medication adherence and persistence in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases: a narrative review

Authors Anghel LA, Farcaş AM, Oprean RN

Received 9 February 2018

Accepted for publication 30 April 2018

Published 3 July 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 1151—1166


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Laura-Alexandra Anghel,1,* Andreea Maria Farcaş,2,* Radu Nicolae Oprean1,*

1Department of Analytical Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Iuliu Haţieganu”, Cluj-Napoca, Romania; 2Drug Information Research Centre, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Iuliu Haţieganu”, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Several drugs are available for the treatment of autoimmune rheumatic diseases; however, their effectiveness may be negatively influenced by inappropriate adherence. Low adherence and persistence rates have a significant impact on patient quality of life and are associated with health-related expenses.
Purpose: To provide an up-to-date narrative review on treatment adherence and persistence rates, and discuss the factors that influence them, in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases.
Materials and methods: We searched the PubMed database for studies among patients with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or psoriatic arthritis (PsA), published from January 2015 to February 2017. Only studies with a well-defined measurement of adherence/persistence and those that carried out an evaluation of the influencing factors were included.
Results: Fifteen relevant studies that evaluated adherence and/or persistence were included. Adherence rates varied between 9.3% and 94%, and persistence rates between 23% and 80%. Most of the studies used one method to evaluate adherence or persistence (different questionnaire scores, proportion of days covered, and mean treatment duration). A high concordance was found between the adherence measurements of the Medication Event Monitoring System and Visual Analog Scale. Factors of economic, demographic, and clinical nature were only moderately linked to treatment adherence or persistence. However, patient-related factors – such as positive and increased beliefs in medication necessity, strong views of the chronic nature of the diseases, and increased knowledge of the disease – were related to better treatment adherence.
Conclusion: Owing to the heterogeneity of the study results, we consider that the use of more than one method to assess adherence/persistence should yield more comprehensive and accurate data about patient adherence behavior. Patient-related factors should be included and analyzed more often in adherence studies as the former may be modified to improve patient adherence.

Keywords: drug therapy, rheumatology, patient nonadherence, risk factors

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