Adherence to Disease-Modifying Therapies in Multiple Sclerosis: Does Caregiver Social Support Matter?

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ObjectiveTo evaluate the relationship between caregiver-specific social support and adherence to disease-modifying therapies (DMT) for multiple sclerosis (MS).DesignTelephone survey with 6 monthly follow-up assessments.SettingVeterans Health Administration.Participants54 veterans with MS who identified a primary caregiver and who were currently prescribed DMT.MeasuresDemographic information. Caregiver supportive and conflictual qualities were assessed with the Quality of Relationships Inventory—Short Form. Medication-specific support was assessed with 4 items developed from qualitative focus groups. DMT adherence was assessed with a single item that requested missed doses in the past month.ResultsAdherence in this population of ongoing DMT users was relatively high, with 85.1% (95% confidence interval = 75.6%–94.8%) reporting adherence ≥80% of prescribed doses. Using logistic regression adjusting for disability, type of DMT, and length of time on current DMT, the authors predicted longitudinal adherence by supportive qualities of the caregiver–care recipient relationship but not by conflictual qualities or medication-specific support.ConclusionSupportive qualities of the caregiver–care recipient relationship represent an important predictor of DMT adherence and a potential target in adherence-based interventions.

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