Increasing Popularity Of Oral Treatments For Cancer Highlights Importance Of Patient Medical Adherence
CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians explores the merits of oral anticancer medications in relation to the high occurrence of general patient non-compliance
New Haven, CT - January 30, 2009 - Traditionally, cancer has been treated with in-office and inpatient therapies, sessions, and surgeries. However, over the last decade, oral treatments for cancer have increased significantly, leaving the patient, and not the doctor, in control of administering treatments. A central concern regarding this change is cancer patients' ability to regularly adhere and persist with their treatments Ð a topic explored by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the most recent issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
The article, "Patient Adherence and Persistence with Oral Anticancer Treatment," reveals that cancer patient adherence has been found to be as low as 16%, and that those patients filling less than 70% of their tamoxifen prescriptions had an increased risk of death. The report included studies that used self-reporting, pill counting, microelectronic monitoring systems, and urine assessment to gage adherence.
The report concludes that the increased numbers of pills prescribed to cancer patients often leads to confusion, missed doses, incorrect doses, and dropouts, with many patients discontinuing use of preventative treatments altogether in the years following the discovery of their condition. Also, although patient adherence is often higher in cancer patients due to the perceived understanding of the importance of the medication to their health, one study found that 26.7% of women taking primary preventative breast cancer medication discontinued use permanently within five years. Twenty-four percent of the women admitted to missing doses at least one a week, with forgetting being the number one reason for non-adherence.
"This report reveals that even when patients have good intentions, and even when they understand well that their lives depend on medical compliance, it is difficult to adhere to oral treatment regimes without a plan, especially over a number of years," said Kevin Aniskovich, Chief Executive of the healthcare information technology company Intelecare, which offers a number of medical reminder options to its subscribers.
"The article makes it clear that the medical community at large needs to embrace new communication strategies for increasing medical adherence - patient-driven services that are tailored to individual needs and that are proven to affect positive, long-term behavioral changes," concluded Aniskovich.
The report listed several possible interventions to improve medical adherence, including patient education, pill counting, pill boxes, pill diaries, regular monitoring, and regular follow-up counseling. However, they conclude that more research needs to be done to find effective methods of increasing persistence and compliance.
The study concluded that SMS may be a useful tool for self-monitoring healthful behaviors of children in the future. General implications suggest that novel technologies, as they become more saturated in our everyday lives, may play an important role in improving health in patients and caregivers.
To read the study in full, please visit http://caonline.amcancersoc.org
Established in 2005, Intelecare Compliance Solutions is a privately owned healthcare information technology company that provides an array of practical tools and services promoting medical adherence. With 84 percent of patients reporting forgetfulness as the major cause of non-compliance, and with the healthcare system suffering over $300 billion in costs annually due to non-compliance, Intelecare's solutions enable patients and caregivers alike to keep track of medications, doses, and doctor's appointments through the phone, mobile devices, and email - all while keeping simplicity, practicality, and innovation at the heart of its developments.
Aside from individual end-user services, Intelecare provides and manages a suite of scalable services for insurers, employers, retail pharmacies, non-profit organizations and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Currently supporting millions of subscribers, Intelecare is dedicated to finding functional solutions to the widespread issue of medical non-compliance for individuals around the world that work the way people live.
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*Intelecare is a trademark of Intelecare Compliance Solutions, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.