Only Half of People with Lupus Adhere to Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) Therapy
In a new study, about half of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) did not adhere to Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) therapy. A cohort of 1,956 people with lupus over the age of 18 were examined. Of the group, just 58% followed their hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) therapy for more than 80% of the study period. The remaining participants followed their medication regimen only about half (51%) of the time, on average.
Those age 65-89 years old, of white race, or who had more rheumatology visits than at baseline were more likely to take the medication as prescribed. This is consistent with previous studies that showed that age, race and lupus severity were associated with medication adherence.
The study aimed to identify factors associated with treatment adherence using the World Health Organization’s framework, US Census data, and medical records to assess predictors of HCQ adherence in people with lupus, and, ultimately, generate evidence to design effective interventions to increase adherence. Further research is needed to better understand the role of patient beliefs and attitudes, the patient-physician relationship and communication, and health literacy to learn why people with lupus are not taking their medications.
HCQ is the most prescribed medication in the treatment of lupus and has numerous benefits including prevention of flares, prolonged survival and other positive outcomes. Non-adherence is associated with reduced health outcomes. Learn more about hydroxychloroquine.