Background Corticosteroids are widely prescribed drugs in current practice but their use may be limited by their clinical and biological adverse events (AEs), affecting about two-thirds of treated patients. Patients can be distrustful towards corticotherapy because of its AEs, probably because of a lack of information.
Purpose We conducted a prospective study in departments of internal medicine and rheumatology to assess knowledge about corticosteroid AEs by a cohort of patients treated with long term oral corticotherapy.
Material and methods Patients treated with long term oral corticotherapy (≥7.5 mg/day for ≥3 months), hospitalised or followed in internal medicine or rheumatology departments were included over a 4 month period. A score of patients’ knowledge about corticosteroid AEs has been created. Its scale has been fixed according to the frequency and gravity of corticosteroid AEs described in literature. A statistical analysis has defined the variables influencing significantly the knowledge patients’ score about corticosteroid AEs and the predictive variables of this score.
Results 110 patients were included in the study. The average score obtained by patients was 12.5/30 points. 81% of patients scored below average. The main variables influencing our score were the patients’ school level, a long period of corticotherapy, patients’ general knowledge about corticotherapy and their diet, and patients’ opinion about AEs. Predictive variables of this score were patients’ general knowledge about corticotherapy and diet, and the number of AEs felt by the patients.
Conclusion Scores obtained by our patients reflect a real ignorance of corticosteroid AEs. The predictive and influencing variables of this score showed the importance of patient information and education. This will allow us to target the patients’ gaps and to create suitable educational tools as part of a therapeutic educational programme (TEP). Implementation of a TEP is primordial to improve patients’ knowledge and opinion about the AEs of long term corticotherapy. Our score could allow assessment of the impact of a TEP on patients’ opinion and adherence to their treatment.
References and/or Acknowledgements
Fardet L, et al. Corticosteroid-induced clinical adverse events:frequency, risk factors and patient’s opinion, Br J Dermatol 2007;157:142–8
Fardet L, et al. Internal medicine physicians’ perception of frequency and impact of corticosteroid-induced adverse events, Rev Med Interne 2009;30:113–18
References and/or AcknowledgementsNo conflict of interest.
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