Nonadherence has been shown to be frequent amongst chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients prescribed imatinib, which results in reduced clinical response and increased healthcare costs. However, little is known about the reasons why CML patients frequently do not take their imatinib as prescribed. The current study explored CML patients' experience of taking, or not taking, imatinib therapy through in-depth interviews with twenty-one patients. Their adherence had been previously measured using a medication events monitoring device. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed in accordance with established techniques. Patients revealed a variety of reasons for their nonadherence. Major themes that emerged from the data were the intentional and unintentional reasons for nonadherence. Furthermore, as a result of information received from health care professionals, several patients felt inappropriately reassured that their nonadherence would not have a detrimental effect on their clinical response. Factors that seemed to favour adherence were finding ways to deal with side effects and using prompts as reminders to take the medicine. This study forms a basis on which to build future adherence research and may help to develop interventions designed to ensure that patients with CML and other cancers adhere optimally to their oral drugs treatment.
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