Adherence to ursodeoxycholic acid therapy in patients with cholestatic and autoimmune liver disease.

Maria Cristina Leoni, Linde Amelung, Faydra I. Lieveld, Janneke van den Brink, Joep de Bruijne, Joop E. Arends, Carel-Peter van Erpecum, Karel J. van Erpecum

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    Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is used for treatment of cholestatic liver diseases and may improve long-term outcome. Although treatment with this hydrophilic bile acid is virtually without side effects, medication adherence might be suboptimal due to patient misconceptions, compromising clinical outcome. Our aim was to evaluate adherence to UDCA in relation to patient beliefs about medicine and to identify potential predictors of poor adherence.

    Prospective open-label study recruiting patients in treatment with UDCA from April 2016 to March 2017. Adherence was assessed both by the Sensemedic dispenser and by patient-reported adherence, during 12 weeks. Good adherence was defined as ≥ 80% intake. Quality of life (by SF-36) and beliefs about medicine (by BMQ) were also assessed.

    A total of 75 patients were enrolled (32% primary biliary cholangitis, 31% autoimmune hepatitis, 29% primary sclerosing cholangitis and 8% other conditions). Average adherence according to the medication dispenser was 92 ± 16% (range: 17-100). Eighty-nine percent of the patients exhibited good adherence and 11% poor adherence. According to the BMQ, 42% of all patients were accepting, 50% ambivalent, 8% indifferent and 0% skeptical to UDCA treatment. Poor adherence was associated with young age (P = 0.029) and male gender (P = 0.021).

    Despite the excellent safety profile of UDCA, still a significant number of patients are poorly adherent. Young age and male sex are associated with poor adherence. Efforts should be made to identify patients with poor adherence and to improve their compliance to therapy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-44
    Number of pages8
    JournalClinics and research in hepatology and gastroenterology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb-2019


    • Adherence
    • Attitude to Health
    • Behavioral medicine
    • Ursodeoxycholic acid


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