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Original Articles

Non-adherence to chelation therapy and associated psychosocial factors among transfusion-dependent thalassaemia patients in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Authors:

Anuradha Baminiwatta ,

University of Kelaniya, Ragama, LK
About Anuradha
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine
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Ruwan Gunathilake,

National Hospital, Kandy, LK
About Ruwan
Paediatric Unit
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Shiyama Arambepola,

National Hospital, Kandy, LK
About Shiyama
Psychiatric Unit
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Mahinda Arambepola

National Hospital, Kandy, LK
About Mahinda
Paediatric Unit
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Abstract

Background: Poor adherence to iron chelation may underlie the detrimental levels of iron overload previously reported among transfusion-dependent thalassaemia (TDT) patients in Sri Lanka. Given the many challenges faced by these patients and families, psychosocial factors may have a significant impact on medication adherence.


Objective: To assess chelation adherence among TDT patients and explore associated psychosocial factors.


Method: TDT patients, aged over 4 years, admitted for blood transfusion to a tertiary care hospital, as well as their mothers, were recruited. Medication adherence was assessed using a questionnaire adapted from Brief Adherence Rating Scale. Serum ferritin (SF) values were recorded as objective measures of non-adherence. Mental health status of patients and their mothers was assessed using Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and General Health Questionnaire-30 (GHQ) respectively. Associated psychosocial factors were analysed using multiple linear regression.


Results:Fifty two patients aged 4 to 28 years participated. Thirty four (65%) were female. The average adherence rate was 90%. One fifth of patients had an adherence percentage less than 80%. The mean ferritin level was 3260 ng/ml, whereas 46.2% of patients had SF levels exceeding 2500ng/ml. SF levels correlated positively with non-adherence (r=0.34, 95%CI: 0.071-0.606, p=0.014). Based on multivariate analysis, increasing age and lower SDQ score of patient, lower educational level and greater GHQ-30 score of mother were independent predictors of higher SF levels, but not of adherence rates.


Conclusions: In the paediatric unit of National Hospital, Kandy, 46% of patients had SF levels >2500 ng/ml. There was a significant correlation between SF levels and medication non-adherence (r=0.34, p=0.014). On multivariate analysis, increasing age and lower SDQ score of the patient, lower educational level and greater GHQ-30 score of the mother were independent predictors of higher SF levels, but not of adherence rates.


Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 2021; 50(1): 116-123

How to Cite: Baminiwatta, A., Gunathilake, R., Arambepola, S. and Arambepola, M., 2021. Non-adherence to chelation therapy and associated psychosocial factors among transfusion-dependent thalassaemia patients in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 50(1), pp.116–123. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v50i1.9412
Published on 05 Mar 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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