Adherence to complex drug regimens over an extended period is a key factor in reaping the health benefits of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Forgetting a dose is the most commonly stated reason for suboptimal adherence, indicating a potential benefit of reminder devices. We examined antiretroviral drug adherence and duration of therapy with respect to adherence tool usage. Adherence was monitored for 12 months in a cohort of patients, using pharmacy refill data. Seventy-eight subjects were administered a questionnaire with regard to tool use at least once at 6 and/or 12 months; patients who replied to the questionnaire were eligible for this study. Persistence of remaining on therapy was obtained from the subjects, charts. The tools included individualized schedules, dosettes and electronic reminder devices, which were offered free of charge to all patients. Of the 64 subjects who entered this study, 60.9% (n = 39) used at least one adherence tool. The median adherence in those using tools was 95%; three quarters showed greater than 91% adherence. Adherence rates with respect to individual tools did not differ significantly for schedules and dosettes, with medians of 95% (n = 31) and 94% (n = 13), respectively. Median adherence with electronic reminders was 76% (n = 5). Seventy-four percent of patients remained on therapy after 12 months of study. Taking into consideration previous antiretroviral treatment, actual persistence at 12 months was 87%. Employing and individualizing strategies, including adherence tools, to enhance patient adherence to complex regimens in addition to counseling and follow-up, has resulted in good adherence rates and persistence.
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