Pediatr Blood Cancer 2014 Nov 17;61(11):2031-6. Epub 2014 Aug 17.
Departments of Hematology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.
Background: In children with sickle cell anemia (SCA), hydroxyurea reduces morbidity, but adherence is frequently suboptimal. Because most families of children with SCA have access to cellular telephone services, we assessed the impact of text messaged reminders as a tool to improve adherence to hydroxyurea.
Procedure: All patients <19 years of age with HbSS or HbSβ(0) thalassemia who were treated with hydroxyurea at a maximal tolerated dosage (MTD) at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Comprehensive Pediatric Sickle Cell Program and who received automated text message reminders (SIMON®) were retrospectively identified. Laboratory parameters, hospitalizations, and medication possession ratios (MPR) prior to and after initiation of SIMON® were compared to assess the impact of SIMON®.
Results: Of the 97.3% of families with access to a cell phone, 91% elected to receive text message reminders. Among 55 children receiving hydroxyurea at MTD, laboratory parameters reflected waning medication compliance during the 12 months prior to SIMON®. Following initiation of SIMON®, children had higher mean corpuscular volumes, hemoglobin levels and fetal hemoglobin percentages and lower absolute reticulocyte counts and bilirubin levels, suggesting improved medication adherence. Hospitalizations were uncommon before and after SIMON®, and medication possession ratios (MPRs) were high before and after SIMON®, neither was significantly changed.
Conclusions: SIMON® was feasible and improved hematologic parameters in children with SCA receiving hydroxyurea at a MTD. Future work will include extension of this technology to children with other chronic medical conditions who require daily use of medication.