Use of medication reminders in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Sebastian Bruera, Andrea G. Barbo, Maria A. Lopez-Olivo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often have difficulties adhering to their medical treatment plans. We determined the characteristics of patients with RA who used reminders and the association between reminders and adherence. A total of 201 patients with RA were asked the frequency of reminders use such as pill containers, calendars, or diaries. Patients completed self-reported adherence questionnaires, and their disease activity and functional ability were measured. Sixty-eight patients (34 %) reported using a reminder. Factors associated with reminder use were older age (yes-mean age 54 vs no-mean age 49, p = 0.004), race (Whites—54 % vs Blacks—30 % vs Hispanics—26 %, p = 0.003), and sex (males—50 % vs females 28 %, p = 0.005). Working patients were less likely to use reminders (employed—21 % vs unemployed—43 %, p = 0.006). Use of calendars was associated with adherence while away from home (ρ = 0.16, p = 0.03), when busy (ρ = 0.16, p = 0.03), and use of any reminder was associated with adherence when running out of pills (ρ = 0.15, p = 0.04). The use of calendar reminders was associated with fewer tender joints (ρ = −0.17, p = 0.02). Few patients with RA used reminders, and whites, males and patients of increasing age were most likely to use reminders. Our findings show that reminders can assist patients with RA in taking medications, particularly when they are most prone to forgetting, such as when they are away from home or busy. Providers should encourage using reminders as a low-cost aid to enhance adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1543-1548
Number of pages6
JournalRheumatology International
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016



  • Compliance
  • Compliance questionnaire rheumatology
  • Reminders
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Treatment adherence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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