Prevalence and associated factors of medication non-adherence in hematological-oncological patients in their home situation

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Medication non-adherence is associated with poor health outcomes and increased health care costs. Depending on definitions, reported non-adherence rates in cancer patients ranges between 16 and 100%, which illustrates a serious problem. In malignancy, non-adherence reduces chances of achievement of treatment response and may thereby lead to progression or even relapse. Except for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML), the extent of non-adherence has not been investigated in hematological-oncological patients in an outpatient setting. In order to explore ways to optimize cancer treatment results, this study aimed to assess the prevalence of self-administered medication non-adherence and to identify potential associated factors in hematological-oncological patients in their home situation.

This is an exploratory cross-sectional study, carried out at the outpatient clinic of the Department of Hematology at the VU University medical center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands between February and April 2014. Hematological-oncological outpatients were sent questionnaires retrieving information on patient characteristics, medication adherence, beliefs about medication, anxiety, depression, coping, and quality of life. We performed uni- and multivariable analysis to identify predictors for medication non-adherence.

In total, 472 participants were approached of which 259 (55%) completed the questionnaire and met eligibility criteria. Prevalence of adherence in this group (140 male; 54,1%; median age 60 (18–91)) was 50%. In univariate analysis, (lower) age, (higher) education level, living alone, working, perception of receiving insufficient social support, use of bisphosphonates, depression, helplessness (ICQ), global health, role function, emotional function, cognitive function, social functioning, fatigue, dyspnea, diarrhea were found to be significantly related (p = <0.20) to medication non-adherence. In multivariable analysis, younger age, (higher) education level and fatigue remained significantly related (p = <0.10) to medication non-adherence.

This cross-sectional study shows that 50% of the participants were non-adherent. Lower age, living alone and perception of insufficient social support were associated factors of non-adherence in hematological-oncological adult patients in their home-situation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number739
Pages (from-to)739
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2017


  • Associated factors
  • Hematological-oncological patients
  • Non-adherence

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