Background Patients' perception on the usefulness of their medicines is important to implement actions that increment confidence and minimize concerns.
Objectives To describe the beliefs that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with subcutaneous (SC) biological drugs have on their oral and SC biological medications for RA.
Methods ARCO is a cross-sectional study in RA patients >18 years-old on SC biological drugs from 42 Spanish hospitals. The beliefs on medication was assessed with the Spanish version of the Beliefs About Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ), obtaining their agreement with each statement through a Liker scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The BMQ score was obtained subtracting the “concerns subscale” score from that of the “necessity scale”
Results 364 patients were included (mean age 54.9 years [SD 12.5]; 77.5% women, median RA duration 7.8 years). The mean scores of the BMQ for the oral and SC biological medication were 5.60 (SD 5.03) and 5.22 (SD 5.43) respectively; the median for both was 5 (p = NS). For the oral medication, 84.4% of the patients scored higher in the necessity subscale than in the concerns subscale, whereas for the SC biological the percentage was 78.3%. Some 73.3% scored necessity > concerns for both drugs, whilst 4.4% scored necessity < concerns for. In the necessity subscale, the highest score for the oral medications was “My health, at present, depends on my medicines” and for SC “My medicines protect me from becoming worse” (table). In the concerns subscale, the highest score was “I sometimes worry about the long-term effects of my medicines” for both groups of drugs (table).
Conclusions RA patients show strong positive beliefs about the necessity of their medicines for RA, although a substantial percentage also describes concerns. The beliefs are similar for oral and SC biological medicines. Rheumatologists should contribute to improve aspects related to specific patients' concerns.
Acknowledgement The ARCO study was funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme Spain.
Disclosure of Interest None declared