Although patients with cancer overwhelming prefer oral to intravenous chemotherapy, little is known about adherence to oral agents. We aimed to identify the rates and correlates of adherence in patients with diverse malignancies.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Ninety patients with chronic myeloid leukemia or metastatic renal cell carcinoma, non-small-cell lung cancer, or breast cancer enrolled in this prospective, single-group, observational study of medication-taking behaviors. Adherence was measured via self-report and with an electronic pill cap (Medication Event Monitoring System cap). Patients completed surveys regarding symptom distress, mood, quality of life, cancer-specific distress, and satisfaction with clinician communication and treatment at baseline and 12-week follow-up.
As measured by the Medication Event Monitoring System, patients took, on average, 89.3% of their prescribed oral chemotherapy over the 12 weeks. One quarter of the sample was less than 90% adherent, and women were more adherent than men (mean difference, 9.59%; SE difference, 4.50%; 95% CI, -18.65 to -0.52; P = .039). Improvements in patient symptom distress (B = -0.79; 95% CI, -1.41 to -0.18), depressive symptoms (B = -1.57; 95% CI, -2.86 to -0.29), quality of life (B = 0.38; 95% CI ,0.07 to 0.68), satisfaction with clinician communication and treatment (B = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.49 to 0.98), and perceived burden to others (B = -1.28; 95% CI, -2.20 to -0.37) were associated with better adherence. In a multivariate model, improved treatment satisfaction (B = 0.71; 95% CI, 0.48 to 0.94) and reduced perceived burden (B = -0.92; 95% CI, -1.76 to -0.09) were the strongest indicators of better adherence.
Women and patients who reported increased treatment satisfaction and reduced burden to others were more adherent to oral chemotherapy. Interventions that help patients improve communication with clinicians and reduce burden may optimize oral chemotherapy adherence.
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