Do out-of-pocket costs affect medication adherence in adults with rheumatoid arthritis? A systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: For individuals with a chronic condition, long-term management of their medication can be difficult and as a result non-adherence is common among this cohort. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the introduction of biologic agents was a revolutionary treatment but the high costs of this medication might limit their utilisation. Objective: This systematic review aimed to determine whether out-of-pocket (OOP) costs affect adherence to RA medications in adults with a diagnosis of RA. Methods: Twelve databases were searched to identify primary peer-reviewed articles, written in English from inception to April 2016 that referred to the relationship between adherence to RA medication and OOP costs. The CASP check list was used to assess the quality rating of the included studies. Results: Six articles were identified in the review and all were considered as high quality studies. Among them, three directly considered the association between OOP costs and medication adherence as their main objective. Although the population and the methods of the studies varied widely, there was an inverse relationship between OOP costs and medication adherence in patients with RA. Conclusion: The findings of this review suggest that OOP costs can contribute to non-adherence to RA medication in patients with RA. Therefore, health policy makers globally should identify the appropriate OOP amount so these costs do not affect adherence whilst simultaneously ensuring that costs are not an intolerable burden for governments, providers and insurers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Costs
  • Medication adherence
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Cite this