Background and aim: Recent observational studies document that non-adherence to mesalamine therapy during remission is frequent. We aimed to investigate patient impact of patient education using objective assessments of adherence.
Methods: A 14-month randomised, prospective clinical trial of adherence to mesalamine was conducted in 248 patients with ulcerative colitis [UC], Colitis Activity Index [CAI] ≤ 9, receiving standard care [n = 122] versus a standardised patient education programme [n = 126]. Primary endpoint was adherence at all visits (5-aminosalicylic acid [5-ASA] urine levels). Secondary endpoints included quality of life (inflammatory bowel disease questionnaise [IBDQ]), disease activity, partial adherence, and self-assessment of adherence.
Results: Patient allocation was well balanced. Baseline non-adherence was high in quiescent/mildly active UC [52.4%] without difference between the groups (52.4% of patients in the education group versus 52.5% in the standard care group [p = 0.99]). No difference between the intervention group and standard care was seen in IBDQ, partial adherence, self-assessment of adherence, or therapy satisfaction at all visits. We suggest a model in which individual risks for non-adherence are driven by patients with young age, short disease duration, and low education levels.
Conclusions: Non-adherence is frequent in a population with quiescent/mildly active UC. Although more than 25% of the population was not in remission at the various time points, no relationship between disease activity and adherence was seen over the 14-month observation period. Physicians should maximise their efforts to motivate high-risk patients for adherence. Future trials should use objective exposure assessments to examine the impact of continuous education and consultations on the background of individual risks to develop non-adherence.
Keywords: 5-ASA; Ulcerative colitis; adherence; clinical trial; mesalamine; patient education.
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