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Treatment adherence in multiple sclerosis: a survey of Belgian neurologists

Authors Decoo D, Vokaer M

Received 8 July 2015

Accepted for publication 25 September 2015

Published 19 November 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 1669—1676

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S91973

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Safaa Khaled

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen


Danny Decoo,1 Mathieu Vokaer2

1Department of Neurology and Neurorehab, AZ Alma, Sijsele, Belgium; 2Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, Edith Cavell Hospital, CHIREC group, Brussels, Belgium


Background: Poor treatment adherence is common among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). This survey evaluated neurologists’ perception of treatment adherence among MS patients.
Materials and methods: This questionnaire-based survey of Belgian neurologists treating MS patients was conducted between June and July 2014. Face-to-face interviews with the neurologists were based on a semistructured questionnaire containing questions regarding the perception of the treatment-adherence level.
Results: A total of 41 neurologists participated in the survey. Of these, 88% indicated frequent discussions about treatment adherence as beneficial for treatment efficacy. The mean time spent on the treatment-adherence discussion during the initial consultation was 11 minutes, with 24% of doctors spending 5 minutes and 24% of doctors spending 10 minutes discussing this issue. The majority of neurologists (56%) perceived the adherence level in MS as good, and 12% perceived it as excellent. The majority of neurologists (64%) indicated intolerance as a main cause of poor adherence, and all neurologists reported insufficient efficacy as a consequence of nonadherence. The importance of adherence in the neurologists’ practice was evaluated on a scale of 1–10, with 1= “not very important” and 10= “very important”: 44% of doctors indicated a score of 10, and the mean score was 9.0.
Conclusion: Belgian neurologists consider treatment adherence in MS as essential for the benefits of therapies. However, although neurologists are aware of the consequences of nonadherence, they generally spend limited time discussing the importance of treatment adherence with their patients.

Keywords: multiple sclerosis, treatment adherence, physician survey

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