Objective. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients’ adherence to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) is often suboptimal. We examined associations among medication beliefs, self-efficacy, and adherence to medications in RA. Methods. Data were from a longitudinal observational cohort of persons with RA. Subjects completed telephone interviews on self-reported adherence, self-efficacy, demographics, and the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ), which assesses beliefs in necessity and beliefs about taking medication. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression identified correlates of poor adherence to synthetic DMARD and prednisone as well as to biologic therapy, including medication concerns and necessity. Results. There were 362 patients who reported taking a synthetic DMARD and/or prednisone. Of these, 14% and 21% reported poor adherence to oral DMARD or prednisone, and biologics, respectively. There were 64% who reported concern about taking medicines, 81% about longterm effects, and 47% about becoming too dependent on medicines. In multivariate analyses, the BMQ necessity score was independently associated with better adherence to oral DMARD or prednisone (adjusted OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.41–0.91), while self-efficacy was associated with greater odds of poor adherence to oral medications (adjusted OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.01–1.59). Beliefs in medicines and self-efficacy were not associated with adherence to biologics. Conclusion. In a diverse cohort of patients with RA, stronger beliefs in the necessity of medication were associated with better adherence to oral DMARD or prednisone, while higher self-efficacy was associated with poor adherence. Providers can play important roles in eliciting patient beliefs about medications to improve adherence and ultimately health outcomes.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs
- Medication beliefs
- Rheumatoid arthritis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy