Abstract: Background: While therapeutic advances have signifcantly improved the prognosis of patients with hereditary tyrosinemia type 1 (HT1), adherence to dietary and pharmacological treatments is essential for an optimal clinical outcome. Poor treatment adherence is well documented among patients with chronic diseases, but data from HT1 patients are scarce. This study evaluated pharmacological and dietary adherence in HT1 patients both directly, by quantifying blood levels nitisinone (NTBC) levels and metabolic biomarkers of HT1 [tyrosine (Tyr), phenylalanine (Phe), and succinylacetone]; and indirectly, by analyzing NTBC prescriptions from hospital pharmacies and via clinical inter views including the Haynes?Sackett (or self-compliance) test and the adapted Battle test of patient knowledge of the disease. Results: This observational study analyzed data collected over 4 years from 69 HT1 patients (7 adults and 62 chil dren; age range, 7months?35 years) who were treated with NTBC and a low-Tyr, low-Phe diet. Adherence to both pharmacological and, in particular, dietary treatment was poor. Annual data showed that NTBC levels were lower than recommended in more than one third of patients, and that initial Tyr levels were high (>400µM) in 54.2?64.4% of patients and exceeded 750µM in 25.8% of them. Remarkably, annual normalization of NTBC levels was observed in 29.4?57.9% of patients for whom serial NTBC determinations were performed. Poor adherence to dietary treatment was more refractory to positive reinforcement: 36.2% of patients in the group who underwent multiple analyses per year maintained high Tyr levels during the entire study period, and, when considering each of the years individually this percentage ranged from 75 to 100% of them. Indirect methods revealed percentages of non-adherent patients of 7.3 and 15.9% (adapted Battle and Haynes tests, respectively). Conclusions: Despite initially poor adherence to pharmacological and especially dietary treatment among HT1 patients, positive reinforcement at medical consultations resulted in a marked improvement in NTBC levels, indicating the importance of systematic positive reinforcement at medical visits.
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