PITTSBURGH, October 20, 1998 — Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob, R.N., Ph.D., director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing's Center for Research in Chronic Disorders, recently received a grant totaling more than $1.5 million for her research on medication adherence in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
"This is an especially important area of focus because about one-half of patients who are given medication for rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic conditions simply don’t take their medication as prescribed," Dr. Dunbar-Jacob said.
According to Dr. Dunbar-Jacob, the goal of the study is to evaluate strategies for improving medication adherence. In addition, the research team will examine what impact adherence has on clinical and cost-effective outcomes.
The study will compare the efficacy of two interventions to promote adherence to pharmaceutical therapy in these patients: telephone counseling or mailed self-instruction compared with standard care. Patients will be followed for one year.
In a previous study, Dr. Dunbar-Jacob and her team, comprised of staff members from the schools of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Nursing, and Medicine, studied 135 patients for about one year. Patients received a telephone-delivered intervention or standard care. The team found that the telephone intervention worked better and, in this larger study, the researchers would like to determine if the intervention could be delivered in a mailed self-instructional format.
"Through these two interventions, we address and attempt to solve common problems patients have taking medication on a daily basis for a long period of time," Dr. Dunbar-Jacob explained. "These include such things as simply forgetting to take the medication, interruptions that may lead to forgetting and side effect management."
Founded in 1939, the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing offers a comprehensive educational program conferring undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Its varied programs are designed to meet the diverse needs of students interested in professional nursing education, ranging from newly graduated high school students beginning a career in nursing to experienced nurses seeking a doctoral degree for careers as nurse scientists, teachers and informatics professionals.