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Free Content Electronic monitoring of adherence to treatment in the preventive chemotherapy of tuberculosis

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SETTING: Non-adherence to treatment is a frequent problem in the preventive chemoprophylaxis of tuberculosis.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the usefulness of the Medication Event Monitoring System (MEMS®) for following and improving patient adherence to 6-month treatment with isoniazid.

DESIGN: Three methods of monitoring compliance, MEMS, pill count and a urine test for isoniazid, were compared prospectively in 30 patients. The efficacy of a combined intervention by the physician and the pharmacist was evaluated in non-compliant patients.

RESULTS: According to the MEMS data, overall adherence to isoniazid therapy was 91.5%, and 86% of the patients were considered compliant throughout the period of observation. The pill count and the urine test tended to overestimate the overall compliance when compared to the MEMS. The combined intervention of the physician and pharmacist allowed drug adherence to be enhanced in non-compliant patients, but the effect was only transient if this was not repeated every month.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the MEMS system is a useful approach for monitoring and improving compliance with preventive chemotherapy for tuberculosis.

Keywords: compliance; electronic monitoring; prevention; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Policlinique MĂ©dicale Universitaire, Lausanne, Switzerland

Publication date: 1998-07-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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