Gout patients who received daily text messages reminding them to take their allopurinol were much likelier to take the uric acid-lowering medication than those who didn’t receive messages. That’s according to a study presented on June 14 at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Amsterdam.
Although flares of the very common condition of gout can be unpredictable and very painful, and despite the fact that medication like allopurinol has no major side effects and doesn’t involve taking multiple tablets a day, a meta-analysis showed that just 47 percent of gout patients actually take their urate-lowering drugs, according to a EULAR news release.
“Our results clearly show that mobile phone text reminders could be an important tool to enhance allopurinol adherence and help in controlling serum urate levels in gout patients,” said study author Pongthorn Narongroeknawin, of Phramongkutklao Hospital in Thailand.
Narongroeknawin and colleagues randomly assigned 42 patients in the study to receive short, daily text messages which reminded them to take their allopurinol. Another 40 in the study received weekly, short text messages about more general gout treatment. Three months out, 88.1 percent of the first group was determined to be adherent to the medicine (based on a scoring called Medication Taking Behaviour for Thai patient), while not one member of the second group was adherent.
The researchers found that serum urate levels were much lower in both groups, but the text message group had a significantly greater reduction than did the control.