Health literacy in patients dealing with gout: a qualitative study

Marloes van Onna*, E. Hinsenveld, H. de Vries, A. Boonen

*Corresponding author for this work

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21 Citations (Web of Science)


The objective of this study was to explore the health literacy of patients dealing with gout and to understand perceptions that might account for non-adherence to urate-lowering therapy (ULT). Semi-structured interviews involving patients with gout were conducted. The transcripts of the interviews were scored by two readers and a coding system to categorize the data was developed. Fifteen patients (14 men, mean age 63 years, mean disease duration 11 years) were interviewed; ten patients were recruited from secondary care and five from primary care. Six patients had gout tophi and 12 patients used ULT. Less than half of the patients were sufficiently aware of the pathophysiological processes that cause gout. Twelve patients indicated that treatment of gout only encompasses treatment of the acute attack. Patients were unaware of long-term treatment goals. Six patients admitted medication non-adherence at some point in time. Several reasons for non-adherence, such as healthcare professionals providing conflicting messages about medication, can be considered preventable. Half of the patients expressed that they, especially at the time of diagnosis, wanted to know more about the cause of gout, treatment goals and long-term consequences. In conclusion, the health literacy of patients dealing with gout was low in our study, especially with regard to medication. Yet, patients often recognized these knowledge gaps. Our data suggest that improving knowledge and addressing common misperceptions in training programmes, may ultimately contribute to adherence to ULT and an optimized outcome in patients with gout. This hypothesis needs to be confirmed in future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1599-1603
JournalClinical Rheumatology
Issue number9
Early online date12 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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