For a study, it was determined that people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in African Americans (AA) were at a higher risk of morbidity and death, and they frequently require numerous drugs. Low drug adherence was a multifaceted issue linked to poor results in persons with SLE. Over 35% of AAs with SLE had depression, which was a predictor of reduced adherence in patients with chronic diseases. Researchers expected that depression symptoms would become progressively related to low adherence. The Georgians Organized Against Lupus cohort, a population-based cohort of mostly AA adults with SLE in the Atlanta metropolitan region, provided the majority of the research subjects. The 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale and the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire were used to assess medication adherence and the severity of depressive symptoms, respectively. The odds ratios of low medication adherence were examined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression among people with increasing severity of depression symptoms.

About 336 (54%) of the 632 AA SLE patients were noncompliant with their medications, and 217 (34.6%) experienced “moderate” or “severe” depressive symptoms. In univariate logistic regression, depressive symptoms, low self-efficacy, poor care satisfaction, female sex, younger age, rushed patient-physician communication, poorer shared decision-making, less compassionate physician communication style, poor/fair health, and higher disease activity score were all significant risk factors for low adherence. Younger age, female sex, and more severe depression symptoms were all linked to low medication adherence in multivariate regression.

Researchers wanted to look into the variables that contribute to poor medication adherence in an AA population with SLE. Low medication adherence was strongly linked to depression. Medication adherence may be improved by mental health therapies aimed at addressing and treating depression.