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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2019 Oct;50(8):911-918. doi: 10.1111/apt.15445. Epub 2019 Aug 2.

Longitudinal non-adherence predicts treatment escalation in paediatric ulcerative colitis.

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Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Schubert-Martin Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
Connecticut Children's Medical Center and University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Hartford, CT, USA.
Hasbro Children's Hospital and Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.



Medication non-adherence in paediatric ulcerative colitis (UC) has been associated with negative health outcomes including flares in disease activity. However, no studies to date have examined longitudinal adherence to maintenance medication in a prospective controlled trial.


To determine whether objectively measured adherence to standardised mesalazine (mesalamine) therapy over time was related to remission at 52 weeks and the need for treatment escalation in newly diagnosed paediatric patients with UC METHODS: PROTECT (NCT01536535) was a prospective, inception cohort, multi-site study of paediatric patients aged 4-17 years with newly diagnosed UC followed for 52 weeks. Patients received standardised mesalazine, with pre-established criteria for escalation to thiopurines or anti-TNFα inhibitors. Patients used pill bottles with electronic caps to monitor mesalazine adherence. We tested whether longitudinal adherence to mesalazine predicted steroid-free remission at week 52 (i.e. quiescent disease on mesalazine alone with no corticosteroids ≥4 weeks prior) and need for treatment escalation (i.e. introduction of immunomodulators, calcineurin-inhibitors or anti-TNFα inhibitors).


Among 268 patients, average mesalazine adherence trajectories did not predict week 52 steroid-free remission. Declining adherence over time strongly predicted treatment escalation (β = -.037, P = .001). By month 6, adherence rate ≤85.7% was associated with treatment escalation.


Non-adherence may have affected therapeutic efficacy of standardised mesalazine, thereby contributing to need for treatment escalation. Routine adherence monitoring for at least 6 months following treatment initiation and addressing adherence difficulties early in the disease course are recommended.


adherence trajectories; children; clinical remission; paediatric; treatment escalation; ulcerative colitis


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