Objectives: To describe the use of medicines and adherence among persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). Further, to examine the influence of pain, spasms and beliefs about medicines on adherence.
Methods: Persons (18 years) with chronic SCI (more than 1-year post injury), using at least one drug regularly, and admitted for a follow-up stay at Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital were included. Participants were interviewed about their drug regimen and filled out validated self-report questionnaires: Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-8), beliefs about medicines questionnaire (BMQ), visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain and modified Penn spasm frequency scale (mPSFS).
Results: The 105 participants used in average 4.2 drugs regularly (range, 1–15), and 70% reported high or moderate adherence to their treatment. Of the 39 participants using oral spasmolytics, 74% reported high or moderate adherence to these drugs. A total of 97% of the participants reported high perceptions of necessity to their treatment and 54% reported a high level of concern.
Conclusion: The persons with SCI included in this study used in average the same number of regular drugs compared to persons with other chronic conditions. Regardless of high overall adherence, the participants were more concerned about their medicines compared to other patient groups. Further studies are required for understanding adherence and attitudes toward medicines in this population, especially to help the persons with chronic SCI feel safe about their drug regimen.