Objective: Poor adherence to medications is an important problem, especially in patients with chronic diseases such as familial Mediterranean fever (FMF). In this study, we aimed to evaluate medication adherence in pediatric FMF patients and investigate the relationship between disease perception and treatment compliance.
Method: Pediatric patients (<18 years old) with a diagnosis of FMF and at least six months of follow-up period participated in the study. Patient perceptions of illness and medication adherence were measured via a brief illness perception questionnaire (brief IPQ) and the Medication Adherence Scale in FMF Patients (MASIF), respectively.
Results: A total of 50 patients (46% girls, n: 23) with a median age of 9.9 (IQR 5.9-15.8) years were included. The median age at diagnosis was 5.4 (IQR 3.2-10.1) years. Twenty-eight patients (56%) had good medication adherence (the MASIF score>60), while 44% of the patients were non-adherent to the treatment. Patients aged under 12 years of age were more adherent to colchicine treatment than those over 12 years of age (68.2% vs. 25.0%, p= 0.002). The comparison of the illness perception and medication adherence revealed higher brief IPQ total scores in patients who adhered to the treatment (median 48.5 vs 52.5, p=0.037). We found significant differences in timeline scores between patients who were adherent and those who were non-adherent to the treatment (p=0.01).
Conclusion: Non-adherence to medication is an important and widespread problem, particularly among adolescent patients. Perceptions of the illness and beliefs about the duration of the disease may affect adherence to treatment. Medication adherence should be routinely assessed at follow-up visits and educational interventions might improve adherence to the treatment.