Adherence to 6-Mercaptopurine in children and adolescents with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Mervat Alsous, Rana Abu Farha, Eman Alefishat, Suha Al Omar, Deema Momani, Alia Gharabli, James McElnay, Robert Horne, Rawad Rihani

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11 Scopus citations


Objective: Studies on children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) reported non-adherence in 2–54% of cases. The primary objective of this study was to assess rates of adherence to 6-MP using two different methods in children and adolescents with ALL. Secondary aim was to identify factors that influence adherence to 6-MP in children with ALL. Methods: All eligible children with ALL who are (≤ 19) years old and receive 6-MP therapy for at least 1 month were approached to participate in the study. A total of 52 children with ALL and their primary caregivers were recruited. Adherence measures included an objective method (measuring 6-MP metabolites in packed Red Blood Cells (RBCs)) and a subjective method (using parent and child self-report via the Medication Adherence Report Scale; MARS; Adherence was defined as 90% or greater). Results: Rates of adherence varied across the measurement methods. Packed RBCs sample analysis indicated forty-four patients (84.6%) to be adherent. Using the MARS questionnaires, a total of 49 children (94.2%) were classified as being adherent according to the parental MARS questionnaire scores, while all the 15 children (100%) who answered the MARS (child) questionnaire were classified as adherent. Overall adherence rate was 80.8% within the studied population. Conclusion: MARS scale was shown to overestimate adherence compared to measurement of 6-MP metabolites in the blood. A combination of both methods led to increased detection of non-adherence to thiopurine in children with ALL.

Original languageBritish English
Article numbere0183119
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


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