Turning Patients into Partners

Education opens minds. For patients, education often means the difference between adherence and non-adherence, which in turn determines the effectiveness of treatment. More than ever before, the health care community understands that an active partnership between patients and their health care team can empower patients and lead to better outcomes. The value of patients tapped…

More Reason than Ever to Start Treatment

Chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) primarily harms the liver, with liver cancer being a well-known consequence in some individuals – especially those who already have cirrhosis. Yet evidence continues to mount indicating that HCV also increases the risk of other, non-liver cancers. At the 50th International Liver Congress hosted by the European…

The Next Wave of Hepatitis C

Despite a few years of good news with hepatitis C – with several new medications bringing cure rates up to 99% – there is also some bad news that must be acknowledged. Hepatitis C infection rates are actually rising in certain populations. The most at-risk population experiencing this hepatitis C spread is that of young,…

Understanding Immuno-Oncology

The field of immuno-oncology combines an understanding of how the body’s own defenses (e.g., the immune system) can be harnessed in the fight against cancer. Cancer cells, although different than the body’s healthy cells, find ways to disguise themselves so that the immune system doesn’t recognize them as non-self and target them for destruction. Immuno-oncology…

Coping With ‘Financial Toxicity’

Multiple myeloma, a type of cancer affecting the bone marrow, will be diagnosed in an estimated 27,000 Americans this year. Advances in research are expanding treatment options and improving outcomes in multiple myeloma patients, but these new medications often come with a higher price point. The expensive treatments for this disease have triggered alarming developments:…

When Price Stands in the Way

Medication non-adherence can be traced back to numerous causes. For some patients, the side effects of a given medication become too burdensome. Sometimes it is simple forgetfulness that keeps a patient from faithfully taking all prescribed treatment. And then there is the cost burden of treatment. Price barriers account for a significant slice of the…

New Promising Tool for Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis, being slightly less common than rheumatoid arthritis, garners less research than rheumatoid arthritis. However, more than 2 million Americans struggle with the devastating effects of this disease, which causes chronic, painful inflammation of the joints and connective tissue. It’s common for psoriatic arthritis to develop about a decade after psoriasis. Cosentyx® (secukinumab) is…

MS Changes With the Seasons

Multiple sclerosis (MS), for most people, has an unpredictable way it changes over time. While MS is generally progressive, meaning it gets worse with time, there are periods of remission and periods of relapse. Naturally, things that make a relapse more likely are worth avoiding and anything that keeps disease progression at bay is worth…

Timely Treatment

When one analyzes the medical records of 1.6 American adults, it turns out there’s a lot to be learned there. Researchers with the Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study (CHeCS) did just that starting back in 2006 and tracked the ongoing health of those with hepatitis for the next numerous years. As the CHeCS researchers uncovered connections…

Inflammation Game Changers

Guest Blog by: Monica Morgan, Pharm.D., Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Biologic medications, first introduced in the late 1990s, were a game changer for psoriasis. Biologics target elements of the immune system which otherwise lead to inflammation of the skin and/or joints. With biologics an option on the prescription pad, health care providers…

World Hepatitis Day

One of the key messages of today July 28th, World Hepatitis Day, is simply this: hepatitis C is a preventable and treatable disease. The World Health Organization created World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about the massive number of people already infected with one of several hepatitis viruses, including the hepatitis C, and how anyone…

Have MS? Get Moving!

With multiple sclerosis (MS), it’s not uncommon to feel so drained that exercise is the absolute last thing one would want to do. But there’s solid research revealing that a consistent exercise program can keep people with MS functional and healthier in the long term. The unpredictable nature of MS makes it hard to know…

Lung Cancer: Immunotherapy Treatment Option

Thanks to anti-smoking campaigns and plummeting smoking rates over the past 20 years, the number of people diagnosed with lung cancer has declined significantly in that same time period. Even so, lung cancer stubbornly remains the second most common cancer in both men and women and accounts for nearly one in every eight new cancers,…

Compliance in the Long Haul

Treating cancer is not always about a cure, sometimes it is more realistic to aim for controlling it long term as a chronic condition, which is a topic I explored earlier this year in Cancer Cure Vs. Control. It can be appropriate in some cases to control cancer with the goal of keeping it from…

What If A Pill Doesn’t Make It Easier?

At first glance, it would seem like a slam-dunk idea: improve patient medication adherence by switching from an injectable medication to an oral one. An easy-to-swallow pill must be better than an uncomfortable needle stick, one would assume. Yet this is not necessarily the case. For example, with multiple sclerosis, many patients actually stick to…

Staying With the Patient

Medication adherence issues account for a significant portion of avoidable health care costs each year, through drug waste, treatment failure, and medical complications. Identifying ways to improve adherence ripples out positively throughout the health care system – benefiting the patient, payers, and all other key players. The pharmacy model at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy focuses on…

The Buzz of Caffeine

Coffee brings a variety of health benefits. For the sake of your liver, it’s not just coffee but any form of caffeine that provides a “perk,” so to speak. Readers might recall several of my past blogs touching on the benefits of coffee for those with hepatitis C. Past research shows that coffee slows disease…

Going Against the Grain

Walk the aisles of nearly any major grocery store and sooner or later you’ll cross paths with a “gluten-free” section. Some nutrition experts now suggest that gluten is not only harmful to those with celiac disease, but could also cause trouble for people fighting hepatitis C. Gluten is a protein found in wheat (and similar…