Introduction Non-adherence to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) is suspected to relate to health care costs. In this study we investigated this relation in the first year of treatment.
Methods In a multi-center cohort study with a one year follow up, non-adherence was continuously measured using electronic monitored medication jars. Non-adherence was defined as the number of days with a negative difference between expected and observed opening of the container. Cost measurement focused on hospital costs in the first year: consultations, emergency room visits, hospitalization, medical procedures, imaging modalities, medication costs, and laboratory tests. Cost volumes were registered from patient medical files. We applied multivariate regression analyses for the association between non-adherence and costs, and other variables (age, sex, center, baseline disease activity, diagnosis, socioeconomic status, anxiety and depression) and costs.
Results Of the 275 invited patients, 206 were willing to participate. 74.2% had rheumatoid arthritis, 20.9% had psoriatic arthritis and 4.9% undifferentiated arthritis. 23.7% of the patients were more than 20% non-adherent over the follow-up period. Mean costs are epsilon 2117.25 (SD epsilon 3020.32). Non-adherence was positively related to costs in addition to baseline anxiety.
Conclusion Non-adherence is associated with health care costs in the first year of treatment for arthritis. This suggests that improving adherence is not only associated with better outcome, but also with savings.
- EARLY RHEUMATOID-ARTHRITIS
- MEDICATION ADHERENCE