The adherence by endocrinologists to guideline regarding levothyroxine (LT4) therapy and the compliance of patients may impact the management of hypothyroidism. The aim of this study was to compare the adherence of Italian endocrinologists to the ATA/AACE and ETA guidelines on the management of newly diagnosed primary hypothyroidism and to validate the Italian version of the Morisky-Green Medical Adherence Scale-8 (MMAS-8) questionnaire as applied to the evaluation of the adherence of patients with hypothyroidism to LT4 treatment.
This was an observational, longitudinal, multicenter, cohort study, involving 12 Italian Units of Endocrinology.
The study enrolled 1,039 consecutive outpatients (mean age 48 years; 855 women, 184 men). The concordance of Italian endocrinologists with American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists/American Thyroid Association (AACE/ATA) and European Thyroid Association (ETA) recommendations was comparable (77.1% and 71.7%) and increased (86.7 and 88.6%) after the recommendations on LT4 dose were excluded, considering only the remaining recommendations on diagnosis, therapy, and follow-up. The MMAS-8 was filled out by 293 patients. The mean score was 6.71 with 23.9% low (score <6), 38.6% medium (6 to <8), 37.5% highly (= 8) adherers; the internal validation coefficient was 0.613. Highly adherent patients were not more likely to have good control of hypothyroidism compared with either medium (69% versus 72%, P = .878) or low (69% versus 43%, P = .861) adherers.
Clinical management of hypothyroidism in Italy demonstrated an observance of international guidelines by Italian endocrinologists. Validation of the Italian version of the MMAS-8 questionnaire provides clinicians with a reliable and simple tool for assessing the adherence of patients to LT4 treatment.
AACE = American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists; ATA = American Thyroid Association; EDIPO = Endotrial SIE: DIagnosis and clinical management of Primitive hypothyrOidism in Italy; eCRF = electronic case report form; ETA = European Thyroid Association; fT3 = free triiodothyronine; fT4 = free thyroxine; LT4 = levothyroxine; MMAS-8 = Morisky-Green Medical Adherence Scale-8; PH = primary hypothyroidism; T3 = triiodothyronine; T4 = thyroxine; TSH = thyroid-stimulating hormone; US = ultrasonography.