Study Finds Factors that Contribute to Medication Nonadherence Among People with Lupus
New research finds that, among people with lupus, two important factors may play a role in persistent medication nonadherence (regularly not taking medications as prescribed). First, people with lupus are more likely to struggle with their medication regimen if they report having hurried interactions with their healthcare provider, especially when it comes to providers’ fast speech and use of complex words. Second, those with low self-efficacy (the belief in one’s own ability to complete a particular task), are also less likely to take their medications as prescribed.
The study evaluated 77 people with lupus and their treatment adherence by asking them to report whether they were taking their medication as prescribed, and by looking at their pharmacy refill data. Nearly half (48%) were categorized as persistently nonadherent, meaning both their self-reported data and their pharmacy data indicated that they struggled to take their medications as directed.
People categorized in the persistent nonadherence group were also more likely to:
- Be younger
- Be Black/African American
- Have a lower income
- Take two or more lupus drugs
- Have higher lupus-related organ damage
- Have higher physician global assessment scores, indicating greater disease complications
While some of the risk factors above cannot be changed, the quality of patient-provider interactions and one’s self-efficacy in medication management are two key factors that can be changed. Lupus medication adherence may be improved if providers speak more slowly and use easy-to-understand terms in interactions with patients.
Additionally, programs to enhance individual’s self-efficacy can also make a difference in medication adherence. To help people with lupus build and enhance skills to manage their disease, the Lupus Foundation of America offers a free online self-management program: Strategies to Embracing Living with Lupus Fearlessly (SELF). SELF acts as a virtual coach to help you manage lupus medications, symptoms and more.
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