Real-world consumers’ questions and concerns on DMARDs: a retrospective analysis of calls to a medicine call centre

Hiba El Masri, Samantha A. Hollingworth, Mieke L. Van Driel, Helen Benham, Treasure M McGuire

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch


Introduction. Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) have revolutionised the treatment of numerous
autoimmune diseases. Previous literature suggested their use may generate patients’ information gaps or concerns
related to their perceived aggressive and harmful nature.
Aims. To understand real-world patients’ information needs and concerns related to the use of DMARDs.
Methods. This was a quantitative analysis of DMARDs-related calls and a comparison with rest of calls (ROC). A
comparison of callers and patients’ demographics, enquiry types and callers’ motivations between DMARD calls and
ROC was performed using a t-test for continuous data and a chi-square test for categorical data. A thematic analysis
was performed on electronically available questions.
Results. There were 1,547 calls involving at least one DMARD. The top three enquiry types involved questions about
medicines safety: side-effects, interactions, and risk/benefit ratio. These constituted 55.6% of all enquiries and
were significantly higher than in ROC (41.6%). The major consumers’ motivations to information-seek were largely
independent of medicines type: inadequate information, need of a second-opinion, and concern about a worrying
symptom. The overarching themes emerging from the thematic analysis were: seeking clarification on potential side
effect or reassurance on the use of a specified DMARD (24%), seeking information on potential interactions (23%),
seeking information on a specific DMARD (19%), and seeking a therapeutic strategy (17%).
Discussion. This study demonstrates that consumers have many unanswered questions and considerable uncertainty
regarding their DMARDs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
EventAustralasian Pharmaceutical Science Association (APSA) 2019 Annual Conference - Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 1 Dec 20194 Dec 2019


ConferenceAustralasian Pharmaceutical Science Association (APSA) 2019 Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleAPSA
The Association hosts an annual conference that provides a forum for presentation of research and development applications from all branches of pharmaceutical science, pharmacy practice and pharmacy education, with an emphasis on participation by postgraduate students.

The Annual Conference is open to members and non-members from related disciplines, and is relevant for:

- academic and industrial scientists associated with drug discovery, drug formulation and drug delivery research and development

- regulatory and clinical scientists involved in bioavailability and bioequivalence study design and assessment, preparation and review of regulatory dossiers

- start-up company representatives faced with implementing strategies for rapid drug discovery and development

- researchers in the clinical and practice areas of pharmacy

- academics with an interest in pharmacy education

- students and postdoctoral fellows from Australia and New Zealand in all areas of pharmaceutical science and pharmacy
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