Promoting self-management and adherence during prophylaxis: evidence-based recommendations for haemophilia professionals

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Throughout life, a patient with severe haemophilia is confronted with many treatment-related challenges. Insight into self-management and non-adherence could improve the quality of care for these patients. The aim of this study was to provide an overview of the current evidence on self-management and adherence to prophylaxis in haemophilia.


Based on series of studies and published literature, aspects of treatment were explored: learning and performing self-infusion, achieving self-management skills in adolescence, adherence issues and coping with haemophilia. Evidence-based and age-group-specific recommendations for haemophilia professionals were formulated.


Nearly, all severe haemophilia patients and parents were able to perform self-infusion and the quality level of infusion skills was acceptable. Learning self-infusion was generally initiated before the onset of puberty and full self-management was obtained 10 years later. Adherence was defined using a Delphi consensus procedure and was determined by skipping, dosing and timing of infusions. Adherence levels varied according to age, with highest levels in children (1–12 years) and the lowest among 25–40 years. Adherence to prophylaxis was acceptable (43%), yet 57% of the population struggled with prophylaxis. Qualitative research showed that the position of prophylaxis in life is the main driver of adherence. This position is influenced by acceptance and self-management skills. Regarding coping with haemophilia, the majority of patients used a problem-focused approach.


Self-management and adherence to prophylaxis vary during the life span. Acceptance of the disease and self-management skills were important aspects that may require tailored professional support.

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