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Feasibility of a Text Messaging Intervention to Promote Self-Management for Patients Prescribed Oral Anticancer Agents

Sandra L. Spoelstra
Charles W. Given
Alla Sikorskii
Constantinos K. Coursaris
Atreyee Majumder
Tracy DeKoekkoek
Monica Schueller
Barbara A. Given
ONF 2015, 42(6), 647-657 DOI: 10.1188/15.ONF.647-657

Purpose/Objectives: To determine proof of concept of a mobile health (mHealth) intervention delivering text messages (texts) to self-manage among patients prescribed oral anticancer agents (OAs) and to examine preliminary efficacy on symptoms and medication adherence.

Design: A longitudinal randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: Two community cancer centers in the midwestern United States and a national specialty pharmacy.

Sample: 80 adults with cancer who were newly prescribed OAs.

Methods: Adherence and symptoms were assessed weekly for 10 weeks in both groups. The intervention group received daily texts for adherence and weekly for symptoms for 21–28 days, and satisfaction with the intervention was assessed.

Main Research Variables: Medication adherence and symptom severity.

Findings: Mean age was 58.5 years (SD = 10.7 years), 48 participants were female, and 48 were Caucasian. Fewer symptoms were found in the intervention group with a moderate effect size. Adherence was higher in the text group using medical record and prescription data (n = 26) with greater relative dose intensity of moderate to large effect size. Regarding acceptability, 57% (83 of 145) of eligible participants consented, 39 of 40 participants completed the entire intervention, 30 participants read texts all of the time, and 34 participants were satisfied with the intervention.

Conclusions: Proof of concept and preliminary efficacy of an mHealth intervention using texts to promote self-management for patients prescribed OAs was demonstrated. Patients had high satisfaction with the texts, and adherence and symptoms improved after the intervention.

Implications for Nursing: Texts show promise for patients with cancer who must manage their OAs. Additional research is needed prior to use in practice.

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