A Systematic Review of Factors Associated with Non-Adherence to Treatment for Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Diseases

Adv Ther. 2015 Nov;32(11):983-1028. doi: 10.1007/s12325-015-0256-7. Epub 2015 Nov 7.


Background: Non-adherence impacts negatively on patient health outcomes and has associated economic costs. Understanding drivers of treatment adherence in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases is key for the development of effective strategies to tackle non-adherence.

Objective: To identify factors associated with treatment non-adherence across diseases in three clinical areas: rheumatology, gastroenterology, and dermatology.

Design: Systematic review.

Data sources: Articles published in PubMed, Science Direct, PsychINFO and the Cochrane Library from January 1, 1980 to February 14, 2014.

Study selection: Studies were eligible if they included patients with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, or psoriasis and included statistics to examine associations of factors with non-adherence.

Data extraction: Data were extracted by the first reviewer using a standardized 23-item form and verified by a second/third reviewer. Quality assessment was carried out for each study using a 16-item quality checklist.

Results: 73 studies were identified for inclusion in the review. Demographic or clinical factors were not consistently associated with non-adherence. Limited evidence was found for an association between non-adherence and treatment factors such as dosing frequency. Consistent associations with adherence were found for psychosocial factors, with the strongest evidence for the impact of the healthcare professional-patient relationship, perceptions of treatment concerns and depression, lower treatment self-efficacy and necessity beliefs, and practical barriers to treatment.

Conclusions: While examined in only a minority of studies, the strongest evidence found for non-adherence were psychosocial factors. Interventions designed to address these factors may be most effective in tackling treatment non-adherence.

Keywords: Inflammatory bowel disease; Patient adherence; Psoriasis; Psoriatic arthritis; Rheumatology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / drug therapy
  • Treatment Outcome