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…

Medication Outperforms Chemo for Some Lung Cancers

Lung cancer remains the top cancer killer in the United States for both men and women. There are different forms of lung cancer, but the most common form is non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC accounts for approximately 85 percent of lung cancer cases, according to the American Cancer Society. For a long time, chemotherapy has…

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…

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…

MS and Sleep Disorders: What’s Next?

Recently, in my blog No Rest for Multiple Sclerosis, the prevalence of sleep disorders in those with multiple sclerosis was explored. Research in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine indicates that approximately seven in every 10 people with multiple sclerosis appears to have a sleep disorder (such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, or restless legs…

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…

Leukemia Drug Could Also Help Skin, Breast, and Other Cancers

Kimberly M. Hicks, Pharm.D., M.H.A., Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy A well-known medication used for a specific type of leukemia now shows promise against several other cancers. This chemotherapy tablet, Sprycel® (dasatinib) from Bristol-Myers Squibb, gained FDA approval for treating chronic myelogenous leukemia in 2010, although it had been approved since 2006 in…

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…

Options for Aching Joints: RA Meds Go Head to Head

Nearly 1.3 million Americans endure the effects of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), leaving them with painful, swollen joints. This disease develops when the immune system mistakenly targets the linings of joints. The current front-line treatment to counteract this autoimmune attack is the medication methotrexate which suppresses inflammation by dampening the body’s immune response. Methotrexate, in a…

Turning the Body into a Cancer-Fighting Machine

Kimberly M. Hicks, Pharm.D., M.H.A., Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy The body’s immune system possesses all the tools it needs to kill cancer cells, so why does cancer sneak past our defenses so many times? Cancer cells – in an elaborate game of cat and mouse – employ numerous techniques to cloak themselves…

Even Successful Treatment Can Come With Unintended Effects

Kimberly M. Hicks, Pharm.D., M.H.A., Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy   The relationship between breast cancer and a woman’s wallet is a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that women who survive breast cancer treatment are, well, alive. The bad news is that a significant number of these women deal with…

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…

Better Cancer Screening Tests

Kimberly M. Hicks, Pharm.D., M.H.A., Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Screening tests are well-known and regularly used for several cancers, including breast cancer and cervical cancer; however, there are many other cancer sites that lack an effective early detection tool. That could soon be changing for lung cancer and prostate cancer. Lung cancer…

Eat Nuts for a Longer Life

Time to put nuts on the menu: a new study reveals that regularly including nuts in one’s diet slashes the risk of dying from any cause (that is, total mortality), as well as from the specific causes of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease. In March 2012 I shared with readers in my blog Going…

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…