Current practice and perception of screening for medication adherence in inflammatory bowel disease

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2011 Nov-Dec;45(10):878-82. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3182192207.


Background: Adherence to medication in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) improves outcomes. Current practices of screening for adherence to IBD medications are unknown. The goal of this study was to determine current practice and perception of screening for medication adherence among US-based gastroenterologists.

Methods: A survey was mailed electronically to gastroenterologists whose electronic-mail address was listed in the American College of Gastroenterology database. Physicians who cared for IBD patients were invited to answer.

Results: About 6830 surveys were sent to gastroenterologists nationwide, and 395 physicians who cared for IBD patients completed the survey. The true response rate is unknown, as the number of physicians caring for IBD patients in the database is unknown. About 77% (n = 303) of physicians who responded stated they screen for adherence to medication. Of the 77% of physicians who screened for adherence, only 19% (n = 58) use accepted measures of screening for adherence (pill counts, prescription refill rates, or adherence surveys). The remaining 81% used patient interview to screen for adherence, a measure considered least accepted to determine adherence, as it overestimates adherence. The average number of IBD patients observed in 1 week had no statistical significance in predilection for screening (P = 0.82). Private practice physicians (P = 0.05), younger physicians (P = 0.03), and physicians with fewer years of experience (P = 0.02) all were more likely to screen. About 95% of responders thought determining a low adherer to medicine was important because an intervention can increase adherence.

Conclusions: The majority of gastroenterologists surveyed recognize that adherence to medication is important and improves outcomes. The majority of physicians in this study are screening for nonadherence in IBD, but are not using accepted measures for adherence detection. If this study truly reflects the majority of physicians nationwide, changing the way physicians screen for adherence, may detect more low adherers to medication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Female
  • Gastroenterology / methods
  • Gastroenterology / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Professional Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • United States