Objective: Patient compliance is considered necessary for the success of drug treatment in chronic diseases. We document compliance with drug treatment and the factors affecting it in a cohort of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: A prospective cohort study of 556 patients with RA followed for 3 years in 4 counties: Oslo, Norway; Groningen, The Netherlands; and Nancy and Reims, France. Compliance to treatment was assessed annually by interview in terms of adherence to the dose and timing of the prescribed drug regimen.
Results: Of the 556 subjects, 429 (77.2%) were taking medication for RA throughout the observation period. Consistent behavior was recorded in 59.5% of cases: 35.7% were consistently compliant, and 23.8% consistently noncompliant. Factors significantly associated with good compliance were older age (p = 0.00), female sex (p = 0.03), decreased disability (p = 0.04), very satisfactory contacts with health care professionals (p = 0.03), and more personal knowledge about the disease and its treatment (p = 0.03).
Conclusion: This longitudinal study identified compliance behavior as consistent over time in 60% of patients, determined by quality of contact with professionals and the amount of patient information available.