The development of an objective methodology to measure medication adherence to oral thiopurines in paediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia—an exploratory study
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- Hawwa, A.F., Millership, J.S., Collier, P.S. et al. Eur J Clin Pharmacol (2009) 65: 1105. doi:10.1007/s00228-009-0700-1
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To develop a method that prospectively assesses adherence rates in paediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) who are receiving the oral thiopurine treatment 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP).
A total of 19 paediatric patients with ALL who were receiving 6-MP therapy were enrolled in this study. A new objective tool (hierarchical cluster analysis of drug metabolite concentrations) was explored as a novel approach to assess non-adherence to oral thiopurines, in combination with other objective measures (the pattern of variability in 6-thioguanine nucleotide erythrocyte concentrations and 6-thiouric acid plasma levels) and the subjective measure of self-reported adherence questionnaire.
Parents of five ALL patients (26.3%) reported at least one aspect of non-adherence, with the majority (80%) citing “carelessness at times about taking medication” as the primary reason for non-adherence followed by “forgetting to take the medication” (60%). Of these patients, three (15.8%) were considered non-adherent to medication according to the self-reported adherence questionnaire (scored ≥ 2). Four ALL patients (21.1%) had metabolite profiles indicative of non-adherence (persistently low levels of metabolites and/or metabolite levels clustered variably with time). Out of these four patients, two (50%) admitted non-adherence to therapy. Overall, when both methods were combined, five patients (26.3%) were considered non-adherent to medication, with higher age representing a risk factor for non-adherence (P < 0.05).
The present study explored various ways to assess adherence rates to thiopurine medication in ALL patients and highlighted the importance of combining both objective and subjective measures as a better way to assess adherence to oral thiopurines.