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Keywords:

  • immunomodulating agents;
  • medication adherence;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • transtheoretical model of behavior change

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, debilitating disease for which there is no cure; however, the recent introduction of injectable immunomodulating agents has reduced the rate of relapsing episodes and possibly slowed the progression of the disease. These disease-modifying agents are recommended by the National MS Society, but their true potential cannot be realized if patients do not accept them and healthcare professionals do not promote them. Since MS has an unpredictable course, and treatments can produce side effects, adherence to the recommended therapy is a complex and challenging issue. Improved understanding of the obstacles to adherence and the identification of possible solutions should be of value to nurses, who have numerous opportunities to encourage patients to initiate and continue therapy. Part I of this article, published in the September/October 2001 issue of Rehabilitation Nursing, described the particular problems of treatment adherence in MS. Part II proposes that the transtheoretical model of behavior change can be a useful tool in achieving both patient acceptance and treatment goals. This model is founded upon the concept that readiness for change is crucial, and that attempts at intervention should be sensitive to the patients' changing conditions and states of mind.