7 Novembre 2022
Coyne M, Rinaldi A, Brigham K, et al.

Impact of routines and rituals on burden of treatment, patient training, cognitive load, and anxiety in self-injected biologic therapy

Patient Prefer Adherence. 2022 Sep 19;16:2593-2607
  • L’autoiniezione dei biologici è un punto chiave del trattamento di una malattia cronica, ma la procedura causa spesso apprensione e ansia, differenti dalla fobia dell’ago.
  • Il presente studio su pazienti con psoriasi in placche, artrite psoriasica o spondilite anchilosante ha mostrato che l’utilizzo di dispositivi didattici, anche a domicilio, e l’insegnamento di pratiche routinarie possono aiutare a ridurre l’ansia e ad aumentare l’aderenza terapeutica.



Self-injection of biologics is a mainstay of chronic disease treatment, yet the process of self-injection often causes persistent apprehension and anxiety, distinct from needle phobia. While literature alludes to the role that routines and rituals play in self-injection, there is no comprehensive study on the routines and rituals self-injectors employ, nor of the process by which they are discovered and ingrained.


We conducted a mixed-method, observational pilot ethnography study of 27 patients with plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis with and without prior biologic self-injection experience. Patients submitted self-made videos, photos, and projective exercises of an actual biologic self-injection and completed validated instruments to assess burden of treatment. Videos and photos containing routine and ritual elements were thematically categorized based on functional and emotional benefit, and analyzed for differences based on current biologic, dosing frequency, time on current biologic, and burden of treatment measures.


During patients’ initial at-home injections, training gaps became apparent, leading to a process of experimentation aimed at reducing pain/anxiety, increasing confidence, and building a consistent injection process. Routines were present in 27/27 (100%) patients and anchored the time, place, and process for injection, and incorporated approved use steps for the injection device. Ritual elements served as emotional coping strategies for patients and were present in 21/27 (77.8%) of patients.


Our findings suggest that providing patients device training using adult learning principles, teaching routines and rituals concurrently, and providing at-home opportunities for practice with a device trainer may be useful strategies to reduce anxiety, avoid unnecessary experimentation, and improve adherence to injection therapy. While further studies are needed to generalize our findings, we posit that routine and ritual elements can be incorporated into existing patient-clinician interactions or novel digital interventions through mobile medical applications, smart training devices, and connected injection ecosystems.

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