A high level of illness perception among patients who have had a liver transplant is associated with an increase in their levels of rational drug use, according to a new study published in the journal Heliyon

“It is important to raise the awareness of patients in order for them to cope with illnesses and to have a high level of illness perception,” the researchers wrote.

Read more about the treatment of Wilson disease

To determine the role of disease perception on rational drug use among liver transplant patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy, a team of Turkish researchers from Malatya Turgut Ozal University led by Gürkan Kapikiran, RN, PhD, from the Health Sciences Faculty, conducted a cross-sectional study in 206 patients who came to their outpatient clinic for control between May and September 2022. Of these, 22 (10.68%) had Wilson disease

The average age of the patients was 48.66  , and 33.5% were high school graduates, while 13.1% had a bachelor’s degree and 11.2% had a master’s degree. 

The researchers found that the level of disease perception and rational drug use of the patients were moderate. 

As the level of education increased, the level of illness perception and rational drug use also increased. 

The researchers identified a significant and moderate association between illness perception and rational drug use.

Wilson disease is a rare genetic disease characterized by the excessive deposition of copper throughout the body, especially in the liver, brain, and eyes. Orthotopic liver transplantation is a curative treatment for the disease, following which life-long treatment with immunosuppressive drugs is necessary.

Rational drug use is defined as the totality or rules that ensure patients’ use of drugs that are appropriate for their disease in the required period at a dosage that will meet their individual needs requirement at the lowest possible cost.


Kartal M, Karakas N, Kapikiran G. The effect of illness perception levels of liver transplant patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy on their rational drug use levels. Heliyon. Published online February 28, 2023. doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e14033