Objectives To describe profiles of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients according to their beliefs in their subcutaneous biological medication (SC).
Methods ARCO was a study carried out on RA Spanish patients who initiated a SC biological drug 11–18 months prior to the study visit. Patients completed the Beliefs About Medication Questionnaire (BMQ). According to the scores obtained in the necessity (N) and concerns (C) sub-scales, patients were classified into 4 groups: accepting (high N [>3]/low C [≤3]), ambivalent (N>3/C>3), indifferent (N≤3/C≤3) and skeptical (low N [≤3]/high C [>3]). We studied demographic characteristics, expectations and satisfaction with the treatment by group.
Results 321 patients (77% women) completed the BMQ, 92.8% scored N>3 and 58.9% C>3. A higher % of men than women scored N≤3 (13.5% vs. 5.2%, p=0.031). The % who scored C>3 was higher in those with low satisfaction with symptom control (71.1% vs. 56.7% in satisfied/very satisfied, p=0.098), or side effects (72.1% vs. 52.0%, p<0.001), and in those with lower fulfillment of expectations of efficacy and tolerance (p=0.006 and p<0.001). The combination of N and C scores identified 116 accepting (36.1%), 182 ambivalent (56.7%), 16 indifferent (5.0%) and 7 skeptical patients (2.2%). There were no differences in age, gender, or RA duration among the groups, but differences were seen in the satisfaction with the treatment and in the fulfillment of the expectations (table). Ambivalent patients showed less satisfaction and lower fulfillment of expectations with the treatment received than accepting patients.
Conclusions Patients with RA have strong beliefs about the need of their biological SC medication, but a high % also expresses concerns. Beliefs, and especially concerns, seem to relate to the satisfaction and fulfillment of expectations of efficacy and tolerability or the drug, rather than to demographics or RA characteristics. Discussing expectations may be important when initiating a biological treatment.
Acknowledgements Funded by MSD, Spain.
Disclosure of Interest None declared