High levels of adherence are required to achieve the full benefit of ART. We assess the effectiveness of electronic adherence monitoring devices among patients failing second-line ART, as measured by viral load suppression. Cohort study of Wisepill™ real-time adherence monitoring in addition to intensified adherence counselling over 3 months in adults with a viral load ≥400 copies/ml on second-line ART in Johannesburg, South Africa between August 2013 and January 2014. Patients were sent SMS reminders upon missing a scheduled dose. We compared outcomes to earlier historical cohorts receiving either intensified adherence counselling or adherence counselling alone. Overall, 63 % of the participants (31/49) took >80 % of their prescribed medication; this dropped from 76 to 53 and 49 % at 1, 2 and 3 months post-enrolment respectively. Compared to those with good adherence (>80 %), participants with poor adherence (≤80 %) had a higher risk for a subsequently elevated viral load ≥400 copies/ml (relative risk (RR) 1.47 95 % CI 0.97-2.23). Participants found the intervention "acceptable and useful" but by 6 months after eligibility they were only slightly more likely to be alive, in care and virally suppressed compared to those who received intensified adherence counselling (44.9 vs. 38.5 %; RR 1.19; 95 % CI 0.85-1.67) or adherence counselling alone (44.9 vs. 40.9 %; RR 1.12; 95 % CI 0.81-1.56). In patients with an elevated viral load on second-line ART electronic adherence monitoring was associated with a modest, but not significant, improvement in viral suppression.
Can Short-Term Use of Electronic Patient Adherence Monitoring Devices Improve Adherence in Patients Failing Second-Line Antiretroviral Therapy? Evidence from a Pilot Study in Johannesburg, South Africa.