The impact of using musculoskeletal ultrasound imaging and other influencing factors on medication adherence in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a qualitative study

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Abstract

Background: Medication can ease symptoms and limit disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Despite this, nonadherence to medication is common in RA. We explored the determinants of high and low adherence to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in patients with RA and provide suggestions on approaches to improving adherence to DMARDs.
Methods: Patients with RA were identified from those who had previously participated in a questionnaire measuring levels of medication adherence. Twenty patients participated (ten high and ten low adherers, as determined by responses to the Medication Adherence Report Scale). In-depth individual semistructured interviews were undertaken until data saturation was reached. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using a constant comparative method.
Results: Four main themes related to adherence were identified: 1) symptom severity; 2) illness perception; 3) perceived benefits and risks of DMARDs; and 4) the quality and quantity of information about RA and DMARDs. In addition, patients’ suggestions about strategies to optimize adherence to DMARDs were captured and they fell within the following themes: 1) musculoskeletal ultrasound to explain the disease process and to provide objective feedback about the extent to which their disease activity is being effectively controlled; 2) better explanations of the consequences of poorly controlled RA; and 3) a good relationship with the health professional.
Conclusion: Patients’ beliefs about medicines, perceptions about RA, and level of satisfaction with information about DMARDs influenced their adherence to DMARDs. The use of musculoskeletal ultrasound to image the inflamed joint may help to improve patient adherence to DMARDs.

Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis, medication adherence, patients’ suggestion to improve medication, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1100
JournalPatient preference and adherence
Volume10
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • rheumatoid arthritis, medication adherence, patients’ suggestion to improve medication, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs