Adherence of adolescents to multiple sclerosis disease-modifying therapy.
In this mixed-methods study, utilization data for disease-modifying therapies were reviewed to determine the adherence rate among our pediatric multiple sclerosis cohort. Adolescents were interviewed to explore their experiences with multiple sclerosis and the impact of peer relationships on adherence to treatment. Seventeen adolescents (6 male, 11 female) started interferon beta or glatiramer acetate before age 18. The mean age at first drug start date was 15.8 years. Eight of the adolescents (47%) discontinued treatment after a median duration of 20 months. Many of the adolescents struggled to integrate the injections into their daily lives, with peers either facilitating or impeding this transition. In conclusion, adolescents in this cohort had difficulty adhering to disease-modifying therapies, and peers played an important role in mediating their adjustment to multiple sclerosis. Specific strategies are required to improve adolescents' adherence to treatment, including less intrusive options and enhancing peer support.
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