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…

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…

After the Cure, Expect Many Years

Life after hepatitis C can be sweet, indeed. A patient who achieves a sustained viral response (SVR), which is another term meaning they are cured of the hepatitis C infection, can expect a lifespan just as long as someone who never had this disease. The year just keeps getting better and better for those with…

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…

Making Decisions Together: Bringing Patients Into the Conversation

It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease the patient has. — William Osler, M.D., 1913 Understanding the patient being treating can sometimes make more difference to treatment outcomes than knowing which disease is being treated. This nugget of wisdom, noted above…

A Special Touch

Brittany Trane knew that she’d really found the right place to work, soon after starting at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy. One of the first patients she interacted with was Craig*, a patient with multiple sclerosis, who had been prescribed a new medication, called Rebif®. Rebif is used in the relapsing form of multiple sclerosis, to decrease…

Patient Adherence Goes Up as Out-of-Pocket Costs Go Down

The sky-rocketing cost of healthcare certainly isn’t breaking news. There is, however, an unfortunate trend related to these rising fees. As costs increasingly shift from payers onto the patients themselves – through greater out-of-pocket costs – finances for some patients hit a threshold which impacts adherence. In other words, some patients are simply getting priced…

Overcoming Lupus Medication Compliance Challenges

The health challenges of lupus can be debilitating, yet two out of three lupus patients cared under Medicaid do not fully comply with their medication treatment plan. This new statistic emerged from a presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals. Poorly controlled lupus can lead to disease…

Expensive Out-of-Pocket Costs: The Latest Treatment Side Effect?

High health care costs leading to financial strain should be considered a side effect of treating a disease for some patients, posits Peter Ubel, M.D., Professor at Duke University, and his colleagues in a provocative new article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Most physicians speak openly with patients about a new chemotherapy medication…

Prescribers: Want Your Patients Treated? Then Don’t Hand Them a Prescription

When it comes to the treatment of tricky health conditions with specialty medications – such as Humira or Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis, Vivitrol for alcohol dependence, or medications to treat hepatitis C – patients are more likely to start treatment if their prescribing physician doesn’t hand over a paper prescription. How so? There are three…

Give Your Liver a Cup of Coffee

Coffee, one of the world’s most popular drinks, can be pretty healthy for your liver. As Dr. Nick Maroulis, Director of Pharmacy at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy, recently mentioned in a guest blog, The New Hepatitis C Era, there is a growing body of evidence showing that coffee can slow disease progression in chronic liver disease,…

Even Doctors Doubt Patients’ Medication Compliance

   Patient medication compliance numbers remain so disappointingly low that even, it seems, doctors assume that their own patients won’t follow medication directions. In a new survey this year by DoctorDirectory.com, the vast majority of physicians (95 percent) think that fewer than 30 percent of their patients are fully compliant with taking their medications. That’s…

Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Find Treatment Hard to Stick With

Arthritis & Rheumatism, only one in five people with rheumatoid arthritis reach an adherence rate of at least 80 percent for their oral medications. In addition, one-third of patient taking non-biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) don’t comply with the use of these medications. This study enrolled 107 RA patients during a two-year period at…

Chemotherapy on the Brain

Simply surviving cancer gives reason enough to celebrate. To sweeten the pot, researchers at the 2013 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference suggest cancer survivors garner another perk: cancer appears to confer protection against developing Alzheimer’s disease. Research presented at this conference drew on data collected from 3.5 million veterans age 65 and older who did not…

Creating a “Safety Culture”

The missing ingredient needed to create safer healthcare and better patient outcomes? A “culture of safety,” says Cynthia Barnard, MBA, from Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, who led a National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) task force on the topic of patient safety. Patient safety – while always on the minds of caring physicians everywhere –…

Pharmacists for Patient Safety

Pharmacists are a key component in improving patient safety, according to a new report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This report, called Making Health Care Safer II, serves as a long-awaited update to the first report on this…