Compliance to drug treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A 3 year longitudinal study

F. Viller, F. Guillemin, S. Briancon, T. Moum, T. Suurmeijer, W. van den Heuvel

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Objective. Patient compliance is considered necessary for the success of drug treatment in chronic diseases. We document compliance with drug treatment and the factors affecting it in a cohort of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods. A prospective cohort study of 556 patients with RA followed for 3 years in 4 counties: Oslo, Norway; Groningen, The Netherlands; and Nancy and Reims, France. Compliance to treatment was assessed annually by interview in terms of adherence to the dose and timing of the prescribed drug regimen.

Results, Of the 556 subjects, 429 (77.2%) were taking medication for RA throughout the observation period. Consistent behavior was recorded in 59.5% of cases: 35.7% were consistently compliant, and 23.8% consistently noncompliant. Factors significantly associated with good compliance were older age (p = 0.00), female sex (p = 0.03), decreased disability (p = 0.04), very satisfactory contacts with health care professionals (p = 0.03), and more personal knowledge about the disease and its treatment (p = 0.03).

Conclusion. This longitudinal study identified compliance behavior as consistent over time in 60% of patients, determined by quality of contact with professionals and the amount of patient information available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2114-2122
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct-1999


  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • compliance
  • drug treatment

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