Text Message Alerts May Improve Drug Adherence

Program linked to better immunosuppressant adherence in young liver-transplant patients

MONDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A text messaging reminder service may help young people better adhere to their immunosuppressant regimen following liver transplantation, according to research published online Oct. 12 in Pediatrics.

Tamir Miloh, M.D., of the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, and colleagues analyzed data from 41 patients ranging from infants to young adults (median age, 15 years), who had undergone liver transplantation. Text messages were sent to the cell phone of the person responsible for the medication, either the patient or caregiver, when it was time to take the medication. Researchers compared the standard deviation of patients' serum tacrolimus levels before and during the study.

The researchers found that the mean tacrolimus standard deviation fell from 3.46 µg/L before the study to 1.37 µg/L after the study. Acute cellular rejection episodes fell from 12 to two during the study. Neither the number of immunosuppressants the patients were taking, nor the person responsible for medication administration, affected the results significantly. However, the authors note, 17 patients dropped out of the study.

"This study suggests significant improvement in medication adherence and reduction in rejection episodes with TM [text messaging] reminders for pediatric transplant recipients. The advantages of TM are its relative simplicity, low cost, minimal time requirements for health professionals, high levels of acceptance, and ability to be used for a large number of patients," Miloh and colleagues conclude.

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