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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Adherence to First-Line Disease-Modifying Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis in Kuwait

Spring 2012Raed Alroughani, MD, FRCPC; Anil Thussu, MD, DM
The aim of this retrospective study was to determine the rate of nonadherence to disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) among multiple sclerosis (MS) patients in Kuwait and to identify reasons for patient discontinuation of long-term therapy. Using a newly established MS registry at our institution, we collected data on MS patients' demographics, clinical characteristics, disability measures, and continuation or discontinuation of first-line DMTs. Reasons for nonadherence were divided into four categories: adverse events, inconvenience, perceived lack of efficacy, and physician-documented disease progression. Of 212 eligible patients, 40.1% were found to be nonadherent to first-line DMTs. In the nonadherent group, the female-to-male ratio was 1.75:1 and the mean age at disease onset was 26.8 years. Of this group, 69.4% of patients had a relapsing-remitting course, 18.8% had a secondary progressive course, and 11.8% had clinically isolated syndrome. Compared with the adherent group, the nonadherent group had a shorter mean disease duration (P = .014) and a greater likelihood of having Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores of 3 or lower (67.1% vs. 48.0%; P = .007). Inconvenience was the most common reason for nonadherence (32.9%), followed by perceived lack of efficacy (25.9%), adverse events (23.5%), and physician-documented disease progression (17.7%). In summary, the rate of nonadherence to first-line DMTs in MS patients at our institution is considered high. Most nonadherent patients had a short disease duration and low EDSS scores. Inconvenience and perceived lack of efficacy were the most common reasons for nonadherence. The results demonstrate a need to improve treatment adherence among MS patients in Kuwait through providing better patient education, improving communication between patients and health-care providers, defining therapy expectations, and instituting new therapeutic techniques.
From the Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology, Amiri Hospital, Kuwait City, Kuwait.

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