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van Galen, Katy A.; Nellen, Jeannine F.; Nieuwkerk, Pythia T. (2014)
Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Journal: AIDS Research and Treatment
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: Review Article, RC581-607, Immunologic diseases. Allergy, Article Subject
Administering drugs as fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) versus the same active drugs administered as separate pills is assumed to enhance treatment adherence. We synthesized evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) about the effect of FDCs versus separate pills on adherence. We searched PubMed for RCTs comparing a FDC with the same active drugs administered as separate pills, including a quantitative estimate of treatment adherence, without restriction to medical condition. The odds ratio (OR) of optimal adherence with FDCs versus separate pills was used as common effect size and aggregated into a pooled effect estimate using a random effect model with inverse variance weights. Out of 1258 articles screened, only six studies fulfilled inclusion criteria. Across medical conditions, administering drugs as FDC significantly increased the likelihood of optimal adherence (OR 1.33 (95% CI, 1.03–1.71)). Within subgroups of specific medical conditions, the favourable effect of FDCs on adherence was of borderline statistical significance for HIV infection only (OR 1.46 (95% CI, 1.00–2.13)). We observed a remarkable paucity of RCTs comparing the effect on adherence of administering drugs as FDC versus as separate pills. Administering drugs as FDC improved medication adherence. However, this conclusion is based on a limited number of RCTs only.

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