Higher Expectations Lead to Better Adherence to Asthma Medications

February 5, 2011

Patients who have more confidence in the effectiveness of their medications tend to be more likely to adhere to their therapeutic regimen. A recent study, which appears online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, examined whether actively promoting the benefits of a therapy can increase adherence.

Patients who have more confidence in the effectiveness of their asthma medications tend to be more likely to adhere to their therapeutic regimen. A recent study, which appears online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, examined whether actively promoting the benefits of a therapy can increase adherence.1

The study included participants in the Trial of Asthma Patient Education (TAPE), a multi-center randomized clinical trial. The intervention consisted of two interactive computer-based multimedia educational presentations (enhanced vs. neutral) given in conjunction with either an active drug (montelukast) or an inactive drug (placebo). The enhanced presentation was specifically designed to increase the expectation that the drug would adequately control asthma symptoms, while the neutral presentation included information on asthma care and management but without active promotion of the benefits of medication. Participants were followed up for 4 weeks, with the presentations being shown before the study drugs were dispensed, and again 2 weeks into the study. Medication adherence was measured electronically using devices fitted onto the medication bottles to record the date and time of each bottle opening.

The results of the study showed that the enhanced presentation mode was associated with improved adherence to active drug, with potential detrimental effects on adherence when combined with placebo. In addition, when a patient expected a higher benefit from treatment, breathing test scores improved and self-reported asthma control scores tended to be higher. Asthma-specific quality of life also improved.

These results suggest that the manner in which medications are introduced to patients may not only affect their expectations about the potential benefits of the therapy, but may also impact their level of adherence and sense of improved health. However, care must be taken to adequately match patients’ expectations, since failure to obtain the expected benefits may negatively impact adherence.

References:

REFERENCE:
Clerisme-Beaty EM, Bartlett SJ, Teague WG, et al. Enhancing patients’ expectations of asthma medication might improve medication adherence. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011;127:361-361.