Patients' conceptions of their own influence on good treatment response to biological therapy in chronic inflammatory arthritis

Patient Prefer Adherence. 2017 Jun 26;11:1057-1067. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S131239. eCollection 2017.


Background: Biological therapies are common in the treatment of patients with chronic inflammatory arthritis (CIA). However, despite the fact that many patients respond well to their biological therapies, there are still a number of nonresponders. In order to design the best care for patients, it is important to understand how they conceive their own role in their treatment response.

Objective: To explore how patients with CIA conceive their own influence on a good treatment response to biological therapy.

Methods: This study had an exploratory and descriptive design with a phenomenographic approach. Interviews were conducted with 25 patients (11 women and 14 men) aged 17-79 years, with CIA who were undergoing biological therapy and who had low disease activity or were in remission.

Results: Patients with CIA undergoing biological therapy conceived their own influence on good treatment response in terms of adherence, physical activity, mental attitude, social support, and self-awareness. Adherence was described as the foundation for the patients' own influence on good treatment response. Physical activity, mental attitude, and social support reflected three essential ways of understanding patients' influence on good treatment response where the patients spoke about physical strength, mental strength, and social strength. Self-awareness reflected a comprehensive way of influencing good treatment response in which patients balanced their physical, mental, and social resources in partnership with health care professionals.

Conclusion: Patients conceived that they had a responsibility for adhering to the treatment as well as achieving balance in life in order to ensure good treatment response. Self-awareness was essential for maintaining a good treatment response, and this reflected the patients' awareness of the complexity of living their lives with a chronic illness.

Keywords: biological therapy; chronic inflammatory arthritis; conceptions; good treatment response; phenomenography.