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Managing treatment fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis on long-term therapy: the role of multiple sclerosis nurses

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      Abstract

      This article discusses the many ways that nurses can address the factors that lead to treatment fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) on long-term disease-modifying therapy, ultimately helping to preserve the patient’s health and quality of life. Patients with MS on long-term therapy may suffer from treatment fatigue and poor adherence due to a variety of different factors, including difficulties with injections, anxiety/depression, financial problems, and inaccurate beliefs about the MS disease process. Because MS nurses have regular interactions with patients, they are ideally situated to help patients cope with these and other factors that may limit adherence.

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      Most cited references 32

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      Multiple sclerosis.

      Multiple sclerosis is primarily an inflammatory disorder of the brain and spinal cord in which focal lymphocytic infiltration leads to damage of myelin and axons. Initially, inflammation is transient and remyelination occurs but is not durable. Hence, the early course of disease is characterised by episodes of neurological dysfunction that usually recover. However, over time the pathological changes become dominated by widespread microglial activation associated with extensive and chronic neurodegeneration, the clinical correlate of which is progressive accumulation of disability. Paraclinical investigations show abnormalities that indicate the distribution of inflammatory lesions and axonal loss (MRI); interference of conduction in previously myelinated pathways (evoked electrophysiological potentials); and intrathecal synthesis of oligoclonal antibody (examination by lumbar puncture of the cerebrospinal fluid). Multiple sclerosis is triggered by environmental factors in individuals with complex genetic-risk profiles. Licensed disease modifying agents reduce the frequency of new episodes but do not reverse fixed deficits and have questionable effects on the long-term accumulation of disability and disease progression. We anticipate that future studies in multiple sclerosis will provide a new taxonomy on the basis of mechanisms rather than clinical empiricism, and so inform strategies for improved treatment at all stages of the disease.
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        Concurrent and predictive validity of a self-reported measure of medication adherence.

        Adherence to the medical regimen continues to rank as a major clinical problem in the management of patients with essential hypertension, as in other conditions treated with drugs and life-style modification. This article reviews the psychometric properties and tests the concurrent and predictive validity of a structured four-item self-reported adherence measure (alpha reliability = 0.61), which can be easily integrated into the medical visit. Items in the scale address barriers to medication-taking and permit the health care provider to reinforce positive adherence behaviors. Data on patient adherence to the medical regimen were collected at the end of a formalized 18-month educational program. Blood pressure measurements were recorded throughout a 3-year follow-up period. Results showed the scale to demonstrate both concurrent and predictive validity with regard to blood pressure control at 2 years and 5 years, respectively. Seventy-five percent of the patients who scored high on the four-item scale at year 2 had their blood pressure under adequate control at year 5, compared with 47% under control at year 5 for those patients scoring low (P less than 0.01).
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          Medication adherence: WHO cares?

          The treatment of chronic illnesses commonly includes the long-term use of pharmacotherapy. Although these medications are effective in combating disease, their full benefits are often not realized because approximately 50% of patients do not take their medications as prescribed. Factors contributing to poor medication adherence are myriad and include those that are related to patients (eg, suboptimal health literacy and lack of involvement in the treatment decision-making process), those that are related to physicians (eg, prescription of complex drug regimens, communication barriers, ineffective communication of information about adverse effects, and provision of care by multiple physicians), and those that are related to health care systems (eg, office visit time limitations, limited access to care, and lack of health information technology). Because barriers to medication adherence are complex and varied, solutions to improve adherence must be multifactorial. To assess general aspects of medication adherence using cardiovascular disease as an example, a MEDLINE-based literature search (January 1, 1990, through March 31, 2010) was conducted using the following search terms: cardiovascular disease, health literacy, medication adherence, and pharmacotherapy. Manual sorting of the 405 retrieved articles to exclude those that did not address cardiovascular disease, medication adherence, or health literacy in the abstract yielded 127 articles for review. Additional references were obtained from citations within the retrieved articles. This review surveys the findings of the identified articles and presents various strategies and resources for improving medication adherence.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            The Lash Group; Frisco, TX, USA
            Author notes

            *Sally Jewell is now retired

            Correspondence: Sally Jewell, 5604 Cutters Trace, Melbourne, KY 41059, USA, Tel +1 859 635 1228, Email sally.jewell@ 123456fuse.net
            Journal
            Patient Prefer Adherence
            Patient Prefer Adherence
            Patient Preference and Adherence
            Patient preference and adherence
            Dove Medical Press
            1177-889X
            2014
            19 August 2014
            : 8
            : 1093-1099
            4144841 10.2147/PPA.S67334 ppa-8-1093
            © 2014 Crawford et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

            The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

            Categories
            Review

            Medicine

            multiple sclerosis, disease-modifying therapy, injection, nurse

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