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World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Sep 14;15(34):4234-9.

Prevalence, predictors, and clinical consequences of medical adherence in IBD: how to improve it?


Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic diseases with a relapsing-remitting disease course necessitating lifelong treatment. However, non-adherence has been reported in over 40% of patients, especially those in remission taking maintenance therapies for IBD. The economical impact of non-adherence to medical therapy including absenteeism, hospitalization risk, and the health care costs in chronic conditions, is enormous. The causes of medication non-adherence are complex, where the patient-doctor relationship, treatment regimen, and other disease-related factors play key roles. Moreover, subjective assessment might underestimate adherence. Poor adherence may result in more frequent relapses, a disabling disease course, in ulcerative colitis, and an increased risk for colorectal cancer. Improving medication adherence in patients is an important challenge for physicians. Understanding the different patient types, the reasons given by patients for non-adherence, simpler and more convenient dosage regimens, dynamic communication within the health care team, a self-management package incorporating enhanced patient education and physician-patient interaction, and identifying the predictors of non-adherence will help devise suitable plans to optimize patient adherence. This editorial summarizes the available literature on frequency, predictors, clinical consequences, and strategies for improving medical adherence in patients with IBD.

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