Text Message Reminders Improve Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Adherence

Text message reminders may improve adherence to methotrexate treatment in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis

Methotrexate (MTX) treatment adherence appears to be higher in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who receive text message reminders than in those who do not, according to findings published in Arthritis Care & Research.

Study investigators divided 96 individuals with RA into 3 groups and monitored their adherence to MTX treatment for a period of 6 months. These individuals were placed in the control group (n=34), the pharmacist-led counseling group (n=30), or the text message group (n=32). Those in the control group received a standard consultation, those in the pharmacist-led counseling group received 15 minutes of counseling from a pharmacist, and those in the text message group received text message reminders. The investigators relied on the Compliance Questionnaire Rheumatology (CQR-19) to rate MTX adherence.

At baseline, 59% of participants demonstrated MTX adherence similarly across the 3 groups, but over time, a significant difference in CQR-19 scores became apparent between the control and text message groups (-0.14 ± 7.56 and 3.32 ± 5.66, respectively; P =.019). In contrast, CQR-19 scores remained similar in the control group and the pharmacist-led counseling group (-0.22 ± 6.56). At study conclusion, MTX adherence was 56% for those in the control group, 53% for those in the pharmacist-led counseling group, and 78% in the text message group.

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Investigators conclude that “receipt of [text message] reminders slightly but significantly increase[s] treatment adherence in patients with RA taking MTX.” They also stressed the cost-effectiveness of texting MTX reminders to individuals with RA. Limitations included self-reporting through CQR-19 and a small study population.

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Mary A, Boursier A, Henry ID, et al. Mobile phone text messages improve treatment adherence in patients taking methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized pilot study [published online September 7, 2018]. Arthrit Care Res. doi: 10.1002/acr.23750