Personalized Medicine

Personalized medicine, in which medical care and treatment is tailored to the individual patient, can lead to better diagnoses, earlier interventions, customized treatment, and drug therapies that are more efficient. In short, personalized medicine means making treatment as individualized as the disease. Recently, experts from the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine shared five key…

Patient Focus: Medication Safety in Natural Disasters

With Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts on everyone’s mind – as well as September being National Emergency Preparedness Month – this feels like the right time to share information about how to keep prescription medications safe during a natural disaster. Preparation begins, when possible, with planning ahead. When families gather bottled water and other essentials to…

A Broader Perspective

Medication non-adherence gets a lot of attention – and for good reason since non-adherence contributes to unfavorable patient outcomes, unnecessary hospitalizations, and even patient mortality – yet non-adherence is not the only important medication issue deserving attention from the health care team. In fact, some experts now suggest that medication non-adherence is just the tip…

Texting For Meds

Could better medication adherence be just a “text away”? According to a new analysis taking a closer look at several previous studies about adherence, when patients receive text reminders about their medication, adherence rates go up. Way up. Looking at medication adherence data from approximately 2,700 patients with chronic diseases, it was found that an…

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…

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…

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…

Making Assumptions

Many physicians would likely be surprised to learn that their patients are not as faithful at taking important medications as they think. Medication adherence continues to be a drain on optimal treatment outcomes for serious diseases. HealthPrize Technologies, an industry-leading medication adherence and digital patient engagement company, recently surveyed physicians about adherence. The physicians surveyed…

Stick With It

A cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) remains elusive, although there are numerous disease modifying treatments available which aim to calm inflammation and lengthen the time between relapses. Not surprisingly, patients with the most faithful use of their prescriptions have the fewest relapses, says a new study of MS adherence published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis…

Biosimilars: Close to the Real Thing

The issue of “biosimilar” medications has been under debate for years. Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on the cusp of approving the first biosimilar. In case you don’t know, biosimilars are less expensive versions of already approved biological medications used for cancer, autoimmune, and other diseases. Biologic medications are typically large…

Cancer: Cure Vs. Control

Not every form of cancer can be cured. Sometimes the best outcome is living with cancer as a chronic condition, as one might with diabetes or heart disease. Controlling – rather than curing – cancer is more likely to be the appropriate course of action with these cancers: ovarian, chronic leukemia, some lymphomas, and metastatic…

Treat Hepatitis C Promptly For Your Liver…And Your Heart

As if it’s not bad enough to have chronic hepatitis C infection, with the damage that brings to the liver, it seems that the hepatitis C virus (HCV) also brings other health risks. Naga Pothineni, M.D. from the Division of Cardiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science and fellow researchers looked into the…

Following the Thread of Cancer and Genetics

People who undergo genetic testing for potentially inherited cancers generally do so to be better prepared to understand and deal with their personal cancer risk. This information, however, can also be shared to help cancer researchers in their important work. PROMPT (Prospective Registry of Multi-Plex Testing) is a new online registry in which individuals can…

It Only Works if You Take It

When it comes to medication adherence, the bottom line was well summed up by the former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop when he said: “Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.” If someone is sick, why wouldn’t they take their medication? It turns out the reasons are varied and complex for patients not…

The Multiple Forms of Multiple Sclerosis

Elvin Montanez, Pharm.D., Senior Vice President at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be a tough disease to diagnose, since its symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions. Even after this autoimmune disease is ID’ed, that may not be the end of the story. Today, experts are starting to understand that there is more…