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Rheumatologists’ beliefs about medication barely differ from patients’ medication beliefs

Bart van den Bemt, Hanneke Zwikker, Nienke Lesuis, Alfons denBroeder, Cornelia van den Ende, Robert Horne, Sandra van Dulmen


Rationale, aims and objectives

Studies suggest that both healthcare providers’ and patients’ beliefs about medication influence medication adherence. This study aims to describe and compare rheumatologists’ and patients’ beliefs about medication.



Data were collected in a specialized rheumatology clinic in the Netherlands. An adapted version of the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ) was used to measure beliefs about medication in rheumatologists. (Dichotomized) scores on the BMQ of rheumatologists were compared to RA patients’ scores on the BMQ, using t-tests and two-group tests of proportions with 95% confidence intervals. 



Twenty-seven (96% of the eligible) rheumatologists (mean age 42 years, 63% female) and 580 (71% of the eligible) RA patients (mean age 63 years, 68% female) were included. Generally, beliefs about medication did not differ between rheumatologists and patients. Both groups strongly perceived the need to take prescribed medication, but also had significant concerns about the long-term effects of the medication (63% of rheumatologists and 68% of patients expressed concerns). Some differences in beliefs were also present: Fewer rheumatologists worried about the fact that patients have to take medicines (15% versus 44%, respectively) and about the possibility that patients become too dependent on the medicines (15% versus 30%, respectively). 


This study indicates that, generally, rheumatologists’ beliefs about medication barely differ from those of patients. However, in some respects, patients do have stronger concerns about medication than rheumatologists. Future research should focus on the interplay between rheumatologists’ and patients’ beliefs about medication and its impact on medication adherence. 

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