Study reveals factors that contribute to medication non-adherence in people with lupus

New to research finds that, in people with lupus, two important factors may play a role in persistent medication non-adherence (not taking prescribed medications regularly). First, people with lupus are more likely to have difficulty with their medication regimen if they report having rushed interactions with their health care provider, especially when it comes to rapid speech and word use. complex. Second, those with low self-efficacy (the belief in one’s own ability to perform a particular task) are also less likely to take their medications as prescribed.

The study assessed 77 people with lupus and their adherence to treatment by asking them to report whether they took their medications as prescribed and by reviewing their pharmacy refill data. Almost half (48%) were categorized as persistent nonadherents, meaning their self-reported data and pharmacy data indicated that they had trouble taking their medications as directed.

People classified in the persistent nonadherence group were also more likely to:

  • To be younger
  • Being black/African American
  • Have a lower income
  • Take two or more lupus medications
  • Have higher lupus-related organ damage
  • Have higher Physician Global Assessment scores, indicating greater disease complications

Although some of the above risk factors cannot be changed, the quality of patient-provider interactions and self-efficacy in medication management are two key factors that can be changed. Adherence to lupus medications can be improved if providers speak more slowly and use easy-to-understand terms in their interactions with patients.

Additionally, programs aimed at improving an individual’s self-efficacy can also make a difference in medication adherence. To help people with lupus learn and improve their 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.

Learn more about SELF and tips for understanding your lupus medications.

Read the study

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