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Treatment adherence and disease burden of individuals with rheumatic diseases admitted as outpatients to a large rheumatology center in Shanghai, China

Authors Zhang L, Lu GH, Ye S, Wu B, Shen Y, Li T

Received 22 June 2017

Accepted for publication 28 August 2017

Published 18 September 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 1591—1601


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Naifeng Liu

Le Zhang,1 Guo Hong Lu,1 Shuang Ye,2 Bin Wu,1 Yi Shen,3 Ting Li2

1Department of Pharmacy, South Campus, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China; 2Department of Rheumatology, South Campus, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China; 3Department of Mathematics, Applied Statistics, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine treatment adherence and disease burden, analyze detailed medication problems experienced by patients, and identify factors associated with adherence in patients with rheumatic diseases in China.
Patients and methods: Patients with confirmed diagnoses of ankylosing spondylitis (AS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were recruited, regardless of demographics, disease severity, and treatment characteristics. Adherence was assessed using the Compliance Questionnaire for Rheumatology and interview-based self-reports. A backwards-stepwise multivariate regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with adherence.
Results: We collected data on 252 patients who had a rheumatic disease and visited our outpatient clinic in January or February of 2017. There were 121 patients with SLE, 70 with RA, and 61 with AS. The overall adherence rate was 41.7%, with 48.7% for SLE patients, 38.6% for RA patients, and 31.1% for AS patients. The overall EuroQol (EQ)-index was 0.761; AS patients had the best EQ-index (0.792), followed by those with SLE (0.780) and RA (0.700). SLE patients also had greater annual direct costs (US$5,103.58) than RA or AS patients.
Conclusion: Overall, 41.7% of our rheumatic disease patients were adherent to treatment, lower than in many other parts of the world. This indicates that it is important to identify methods that improve adherence in this population. It is particularly important to improve the health status and reduce the disease burden of patients with SLE, the most common of the three rheumatic diseases we analyzed. Our results suggest that reminder tools may improve adherence. Further prospective research is needed to confirm whether reminder tools and other measures can improve patient compliance.

Keywords: adherence, disease burden, EQ-5D, SLE, rheumatic disease

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