Despite More A1C Testing, Diabetes Control Plateaus

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Saeid Shahraz, MD, PhD
Heller School of Social Policy and Management
Brandeis University
Waltham, Massachusetts 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous researchers had shown a significant improvement in diabetes control in the US between the years 1998 and 2010. We wanted to show if the betterment in diabetes control continued after then.

As previously, we measured hemoglobin A1C that shows the extent to which blood glucose level is under control.

Our main finding was that this upward improving trend plateaued for years after 2007 up to 2014, the last year for which we had data. We examined both genders, white and non-white populations as well as three age groups; young, middle age, and elderly population and results were the same: no change.

Overall, in 2007, 14% of patients with diabetes showed a poor diabetes control (Hemoglobin A1C more than 9%) ; in 2014, 15% of patients with diabetes fell within the category of poor diabetes control. 55% of the patients had a Good control of diabetes (Hemoglobin A1C less than 7%) in 2007; this measure was 54% in 2014.

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Adherence to HIV Treatment May Protect Brain From Further Injury

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ryan Sanford

Ryan Sanford

Ryan Sanford, MEng
Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Montreal Neurological Institute
McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: With the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) the outlook for HIV+ individuals has dramatically shifted from a fatal disease to a chronic manageable condition. However, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders are still prevalent. The etiology of this dysfunction remains unknown. Previous work has reported progressive brain atrophy in HIV+ individuals with advanced disease and poor viral suppression, but it is unclear whether stable treatment and effective viral suppression can mitigate the progression of brain atrophy. To examine this issue, we followed well-treated HIV+ individuals with good viral suppression and well-matched controls, and assessed whether ongoing brain atrophy occurs over time.

The main finding in this study was the HIV+ participants had reduced brain volumes and poorer cognitive performance compared to the control group, but the changes in brain volumes and cognitive performance were similar between the groups.

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Patients Frequently Decline Insulin For About Two Years After Recommendation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexander Turchin, MD, MS Director of Quality in  Diabetes in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension Brigham and Women's Hospital

Dr. Turchin

Alexander Turchin, MD, MS
Director of Quality in
Diabetes in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension
Brigham and Women’s Hospital 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Anecdotally, many clinicians report that their patients with diabetes frequently decline recommendations to start treatment with insulin. However, until now, there was no systematic information available on this phenomenon.

Our study has found that 30% of patients initially decline their healthcare providers’ recommendation to start insulin therapy. Patients who do ultimately start treatment with insulin, do it on average more than two years after initially declining it.

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Fixed-Dose Blood Pressure Medications Save Money In The Long Run

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kalyani B. Sonawane, PhD Assistant Professor/ PhD Program Director Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy College of Public Health and Health Professions University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32610

Dr. Sonawane

Kalyani B. Sonawane, PhD
Assistant Professor/ PhD Program Director
Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy
College of Public Health and Health Professions
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32610

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Almost one-third of Americans have high blood pressure. Of those patients who are prescribed medication to control their blood pressure, about 30 percent have problems with side effects and nearly 50 percent will not have their blood pressure controlled within the first year of taking medication. In such scenarios, physicians have the option to either add a medication, such as fixed-dose combination, to the patient’s regimen or gradually increase a patient’s dose of their current drug to achieve blood pressure control; and gradually decrease the dose of their current drug or switch to a different drug to resolve side effects. Using healthcare claims data, we compared the economic impact of these alternative treatment modification strategies.

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Directly Observed Therapy Linked To Lower Mortality In Multi-Drug Resistant TB

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Jorge Salinas MD
Epidemic intelligence service officer
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Because multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) treatment regimens are less effective, more complex, and are more likely to have side effects that are difficult to tolerate than regimens for drug-susceptible TB, patients with MDR TB are at a higher risk of dying. Directly observed therapy (a therapy by which patients meet with a healthcare worker at a regularly scheduled time and place so the healthcare worker can observe the patient taking their TB medication) is recommended to treat all forms of TB disease, including MDR TB.

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Risk Factors for Nonadherence to Antihypertensive Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Gupta Pankaj

Dr.Gupta

Dr. Gupta Pankaj
Consultant Metabolic Physician/Chemical Pathologist

Dr. Patel Prashanth - Consultant Metabolic Physician/Chemical Pathologis

Dr. Patel

Dr. Patel Prashanth – Consultant Metabolic Physician/Chemical Pathologist

Department of Metabolic Medicine and Chemical Pathology
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, UK

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Non-adherence or patients not taking their medications as prescribed is known since the time of Hippocrates. It is the key reason why blood pressure is well controlled in only around 50% of patients with hypertension, despite the availability of good medicines. Non-adherence leads to poorer cardiovascular outcomes and is thought to cost $100 billion to the US health economy. A crucial reason for the lack of progress in improving adherence has been the previous lack of a clinically useful objective measure.

We and others have developed a robust and reliable biochemical screening method to assess for non- adherence to antihypertensive medications in urine or blood using a technique called liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.  We have previously reported a single centre study that demonstrated high rates of non-adherence in patients attending a hypertension clinic.

Since, then we have set up a National Centre for Adherence Testing (NCAT, ncat@uhl-tr.nhs.uk) in the Department of Metabolic Medicine and Chemical Pathology, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) and receive samples from around 25 hypertension clinics across UK. This study analysed data from~1400 patients consisting of samples received in UHL and also from a cohort of patients in the Czech Republic.

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More Work Needed To Ensure Compliance With High Intensity Statins After Heart Attack

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robert Rosenson, MD Professor of Medicine and Cardiology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York

Dr. Rosenson

Robert Rosenson, MD
Professor of Medicine and Cardiology
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: High intensity statin therapy is underutilized in patients with acute coronary syndromes. In 2011, 27% of patients were discharged on a high intensity statin (Rosenson RS, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol).

In this report, we investigate the factors associated with high adherence to high intensity statin. High adherence to high intensity statins was more common among patients who took high intensity statin prior to their hospitalization, had fewer comorbidities, received a low-income subsidy, attended cardiac rehabilitation and more visits with a cardiologist.

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Why Do So Many Stroke Survivors Give Up On Preventive Medications?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anna De Simoni

NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Primary Care Research
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
London E1 2AB

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Three in 10 stroke survivors will go on to have a further stroke, which causes greater disability or even death. Secondary prevention medications, including antihypertensives, blood thinning and lipid lowering agents, such as statins, can reduce risk of stroke recurrence by up to 75 per cent. However, patients’ persistence with these medications decreases over time because a minority of people experience side effects, which are mild in most cases.

The analysis, involving Queen Mary University of London and the University of Cambridge and published in the journal Family Practice, was performed on the archives from TalkStroke, a UK online forum hosted by the Stroke Association. The forum is used by patients with stroke and their carers, and generated 21,596 posts during 2004-2011. 50 participants were found to discuss GP advice on prevention medications in 43 discussion threads.

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Money for Medication Improved Adherence To Medications for Psychosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

 Ernst L Noordraven MSc, PhD student Department of Psychiatry Epidemiological and Social Psychiatric Research institute Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam Netherlands

Ernst L Noordraven

Ernst L Noordraven MSc, PhD student
Department of Psychiatry
Epidemiological and Social Psychiatric Research institute
Erasmus University Medical Center
Rotterdam Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Provision of financial incentives is a promising intervention for improving adherence in patients taking antipsychotic medication. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of this intervention for improving adherence to antipsychotic depot medication in patients with psychotic disorders, irrespective of their previous compliance.

Our 12-month randomized controlled trial showed that financial incentives improved adherence to antipsychotic depot medications in patients with psychotic disorders, regardless of their level of compliance at study entrance. Patients received either treatment as usual plus a financial reward for each depot of medication received (€30 per month if fully compliant; intervention group) or treatment as usual alone (control group). Based on the use of depot registrations from 155 patients (92%), the adjusted difference in adherence was 14·9% (95% CI 8·9–20·9%; p<0·0001) in favour of the intervention group.

Our study is also the first to demonstrate that the effects on medication adherence persist after monetary rewards are discontinued, for at least a 6-month follow-up period (adjusted difference 6·5%, 95% CI 2·0–10·9; p=0·047).

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New Capsule Can Reside in Stomach and Deliver Drugs for Several Weeks After Single Ingestion

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

C. Giovanni Traverso, MB, BChir, PhD Gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer Division of Gastroenterology at BWH Instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Traverso

C. Giovanni Traverso, MB, BChir, PhD
Gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer
Division of Gastroenterology at BWH
Instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We developed a drug delivery system capable of safely residing in the stomach for 2 weeks. Furthermore we demonstrated the capacity of the novel dosage form, in the shape of a star, to protect the drug from the acidic stomach environment and also slowly release drug over the course of 14 days.

We applied this new technology towards efforts targeting the elimination of malaria. Specifically, we focused on a drug called ivermectin that has been used to treat parasites but also has the benefit of being toxic to malaria-carrying mosquitos when they bite someone who has ivermectin in their system.

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Electronic Prescriptions More Likely To Be Filled By Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adewole S. Adamson, MD, MPP Department of Dermatology The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC

Dr.Adewole S. Adamson

Adewole S. Adamson, MD, MPP
Department of Dermatology
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: As the United States has moved to increasing levels of electronic medical record keeping, electronic prescribing has become an important part of improving the quality of care and patient experience. E-prescribing increases co-ordination between pharmacist and physician and decreases prescription errors. However, it is less certain whether e-prescribing affects patient primary adherence to medications, meaning whether or not a patient will fill and pick up their medication at the pharmacy. Although it may seem intuitive that primary adherence would increase by removing the patient from the prescription-to-pharmacy routing process, there have been few studies directly comparing primary adherence of patients given traditional paper prescriptions versus e-prescriptions.

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Big Data Using Predictive Analytics Aims To Improve Medication Adherence

Neil Smiley

Neil Smiley

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Neil Smiley

Founder and CEO of Loopback Analytics

Editor’s note: Loopback Analytics mission is to “integrate data across a myriad of healthcare information systems to bridge the expanding gaps within the care continuum”. CEO Neil Smiley discusses the problem of medication adherence and possible means to address the issue.

MedicalResearch.com: What is meant by medication “adherence”? How big a problem does this represent in term of health care outcomes and costs?

Response: Medication adherence is the degree to which a patient is taking medications as prescribed. Poor medication adherence takes the lives of 125,000 Americans annually, and costs the health care system nearly $300 billion a year in additional doctor visits, emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

MedicalResearch.com: What can be done by health care providers, systems and pharmacists to improve medication adherence?

Response: There are many potential failure points after a prescription is written, that range from affordability, transportation, literacy, confusion over brand vs. generics, duplication of therapy. Many patients simply stop taking medications when they start feeling better or fail to refill chronic maintenance medications. Healthcare providers can improve adherence by anticipating and eliminating potential points of failure before they become problems. For example, high risk patients leaving the hospital are less likely to be readmitted if they get their prescriptions before they are discharged. Follow-up consultations by pharmacists can assist patients with side effects that may otherwise cause patients to abandon their treatment plan and provide patients with education on how to take medications correctly.

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Some US Regions and Ethnicities At Greater Risk of Non-Adherence to Blood Pressure Medications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matthew Ritchey, DPT, PT, OCS, MPH Epidemiologist Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Dr. Matthew Ritchey

Matthew Ritchey, DPT, PT, OCS, MPH
Epidemiologist
Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and death. Unfortunately, almost one in three U.S. adults (around 75 million) has high blood pressure, and nearly half of that group (about 34 million) doesn’t have it under control.

As part of CDC’s ongoing efforts to monitor trends and risk factors contributing to cardiovascular disease, we collaborated with colleagues at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to look at blood pressure medicine nonadherence among Medicare Part D enrollees ages 65 and over. Being nonadherent means that patients skip doses of their medicine or stop taking it altogether.

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Policy Changes Have Reduced Cost-Related Medication Nonadherence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elizabeth Geneva Wood, MHPA Department of Health Policy and Administration College of Nursing Washington State University Spokane

Ellizabeth Wood

Elizabeth Geneva Wood, MHPA
Department of Health Policy and Administration
College of Nursing
Washington State University
Spokane

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Many people don’t fill prescriptions because they can’t afford them, which is risky for their health. The problem of cost-related nonadherence to prescriptions (CRN) was increasing in prevalence over time until several major policy changes in the 2000s that were intended to help prescription affordability and/or access to health insurance. We observed that each of these major policy changes corresponded with a decrease in CRN among the policy’s target population.

For seniors, CRN dropped in 2006, when Medicare Part D came into effect. For younger adults (19-25), CRN dropped in 2010, when the Affordable Care Act began allowing them to stay on their parents’ insurance. Cost-related nonadherence rates also dropped for all non-elderly adults (including the younger ones) in 2014 and 2015, when the Medicaid expansion and the introduction of the health insurance marketplaces offered coverage to many previously-uninsured adults.

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Study By Quest Diagnostics Finds Half of Americans Misuse Their Drugs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

F. Leland McClure III, MSci, PhD, F-ABFT Medical science liaison director Quest Diagnostics

Dr. F. Leland McClure

F. Leland McClure III, MSci, PhD, F-ABFT
Medical science liaison director
Quest Diagnostics

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Many physicians associate Quest Diagnostics with their lab service needs because of our leadership in laboratory testing. But Quest is more than a lab, which is why we refer to ourselves as a diagnostic information services provider. This means that we help providers, health plans and even patients use the insights we derive from our lab testing data to deliver better care, quality and outcomes, both for the patient and the managed population.

Our 2016 Quest Diagnostics Health Trends(TM) Prescription Drug Monitoring Report is an example of how we provide important health insights from Quest’s laboratory data. Prescription drug misuse is a major epidemic in the United States. Laboratory testing can help identify if a patient is using or misusing prescribed medications. For instance, lab tests can show evidence of additional medications and other drugs in a patient’s urine specimen, suggesting potentially dangerous drug combinations. Earlier this year, the CDC issued guidelines that call for laboratory testing for patients prescribed certain medications, such as opioids, that carry a risk of abuse.

Quest’s prescription drug monitoring services help the physician identify if a patient is taking or not taking up to about four dozen drugs, such as oxycodone, Adderall XR® and Percocet®. For the Quest analysis, we analyzed more than 3 million de-identified lab test results.

In this report, we found that 54 percent of patients’ results tested in 2015 showed evidence of drug misuse, slightly above the 53 percent misuse rate in 2014. That is certainly unacceptably high, but it’s a significant decline from the high of 63 percent we observed in 2011.

We also found that an increasing proportion of patients who misuse medications combine their prescription medication with non-prescribed drugs. Among patients with inconsistent test results, forty-five percent of these patients showed evidence of one or more other drug(s) in addition to their prescribed drug regimen. That’s much higher than our findings of 35 percent in 2014 and 2013, 33 percent in 2012, and 32 percent in 2011.

Finally, we were alarmed by the data showing the connection between heroin and benzodiazepines misuse. Our data showed one in three heroin users combine their drug use with benzodiazepines, the vast majority of which were unprescribed. This is an extremely dangerous practice given that benzodiazepines can have strong respiratory depressant effects when combined with other substances. Drug combinations, but particularly of heroin with benzodiazepines, can be potentially very dangerous, leading to coma and even death in some cases.

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Pharmacist-Led Program Reduced Hospital Readmissions Through Improved Medication Adherence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer Polinski, Senior Director Enterprise Evaluation and Population Health Analytics CVS Health Woonsocket, Rhode Island

Jennifer Polinski

Jennifer Polinski, Senior Director
Enterprise Evaluation and Population Health Analytics
CVS Health
Woonsocket, Rhode Island

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Unnecessary and often preventable hospital readmissions are a growing and costly issue. An estimated one in seven patients discharged from a hospital is readmitted within 30 days, and startlingly, readmissions are associated with more than $41 billion in additional health care costs per year. In addition, evidence suggests that approximately 66 percent of hospital readmissions are the result of adverse health events related to medication non-adherence.

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Acute MI Often Changes Compliance With Prescribed Statins

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ian Kronish, MD, MPH Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Medicine Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Ian Kronish

Ian Kronish, MD, MPH
Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Medicine
Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health
Columbia University Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Kronish: Prior studies have shown that adherence to statins is suboptimal both in patients prescribed statins for primary prevention and in high-risk patients who are prescribed statins to prevent recurrent events. But, to our knowledge, prior studies had not examined the impact of a hospitalization for a myocardial infarction (MI) on subsequent adherence to statins. We wondered whether the hospitalization would serve as a wake-up call that led patients to become more adherent after the MI. At the same time, we were concerned that the physical and psychological distress that arises after a hospitalization for an MI may lead to a decline in statin adherence.

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Hypertension: Screening For Medication Non-Adherence Critical Before Renal Denervation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Prashanth Patel MSc, FRCP, FRCPath Consultant Metabolic Physician/ Chemical Pathologist and Head of Service Department of Chemical Pathology and Metabolic Diseases Honorary Senior Lecturer, Dept of Cardiovascular Sciences University of Leicester

Dr. Patel Prashanth

Dr Prashanth Patel MSc, FRCP, FRCPath
Consultant Metabolic Physician/ Chemical Pathologist and Head of Service
Department of Chemical Pathology and Metabolic Diseases
Honorary Senior Lecturer
Dept of Cardiovascular Sciences
University of Leicester

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Patel: Hypertension (HTN) is one of the most important and common chronic treatable condition. It affects nearly one third of the adult population. Nearly one fifth of patients treated for hypertension are thought to be resistant to treatment and these patients have a high mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Percutaneous radiofrequency catheter-based renal sympathetic denervation (renal denervation, RD) may be a potential treatment for resistant hypertension. Although RD is a safe procedure, it is irreversible and expensive. It is important that patients’ suitability for renal denervation is carefully assessed to maximise the potential benefits of the procedure. Therefore causes of pseudo-resistant hypertension namely white-coat hypertension, suboptimal pharmacological antihypertensive treatment and non-adherence to antihypertensive medications and secondary hypertension are needed to be robustly ruled out before considering a patient as suitable for renal denervation.

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Over Half of Post Cardiac Bypass Patients Not Taking Recommended Statins and Aspirin

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Kevin Curl, MD Sidney Kimmel Medical College Jefferson University

Dr. Kevin Curl

Dr. Kevin Curl, MD
Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Jefferson University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Curl: If left untreated, half of coronary bypass vein grafts will become occluded within 10 years of surgery.  We reviewed the health records of over 350 patients who had a previous coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) a minimum of three years prior.  Our goal was to identify the long-term trends with medication adherence in this high risk population, namely aspirin and statin medications.  The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend both statins and aspirin medications unless they are unsafe for the individual patient. The mean age of the study population was 69 years, most patients had previously undergone “triple bypass” with 3 grafts, and the mean time from surgery was 11 years.  We found that only 52 percent of patients were taking both aspirin and a statin medication. In addition, patients not taking a statin had higher (22 percent) low-density lipid or “bad” cholesterol.

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Women Attend Fewer Cardiac Rehabilitation Sessions Than Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sherry L. Grace, PhD Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science York University Sr. Scientist, Cardiorespiratory Fitness Team Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network Toronto Western Hospital Toronto, ON

Dr. Sherry Grace

Sherry L. Grace, PhD
Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science
York University
Sr. Scientist, Cardiorespiratory Fitness Team
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network
Toronto Western Hospital
Toronto, ON

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Grace: Cardiac rehabilitation is an outpatient chronic disease management program. It is a standardized model of care, comprised of risk factor assessment and management, exercise training, patient education, as well and dietary and psychosocial counseling. Patients generally attend two times a week for several months.

Participation in cardiac rehab has been shown to reduce death and disability. This is a dose-response association, such that more cardiac rehab participation is associated with even less death, etc. Therefore, it is important that patients adhere to the program, or participate in all the prescribed sessions.

No one has ever reviewed patient adherence to cardiac rehab in a systematic way. It has always been assumed that patients only attend about half of prescribed sessions. Also, many studies have shown that women attend fewer sessions than men. However, this has been known for some time, so we would hope that in the current era, this sex difference would not exist. No study has ever aggregated and analyzed sex differences in program adherence, so we set out to do this.

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Most Patients Referred By Genetic Screening For Breast MRI Do Not Have Study Performed

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stamatia Destounis, MD, FSBI, FACR Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, LLC, Clinical Professor of Imaging Sciences University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry  Rochester NY 14620

Dr. Stamatia Destounis

Stamatia Destounis, MD, FSBI, FACR
Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, LLC,
Clinical Professor of Imaging Sciences
University of Rochester
School of Medicine and Dentistry
 Rochester NY 14620 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Destounis: Identification of women who have an increased risk of breast cancer is important, as they are often eligible for additional screening methods, such as breast MRI. One criterion for eligibility for screening breast MRI is >20% lifetime risk of breast cancer, as determined by risk assessment models through genetic counseling.

At my facility, we have incorporated a genetics program. Through the program we are flagging and identifying a large volume of patients who are potentially eligible for additional services. This study was conducted to determine the value of screening MRI in the patient subgroup who have undergone genetic counseling at my facility. In this group we found 50% of patients who were referred for counseling were also recommended to have screening MRI. However, only 21.3% of those recommended actually pursued the exam. Of those patients who did have a screening MRI, 4 were diagnosed with breast cancer, all of which were invasive and node negative. We ultimately had a 10% biopsy rate and 50% cancer detection rate in this subgroup.
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Patients Take Only Little More Than Half Prescribed Antibiotic After leaving Hospital For Skin Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Loren G. Miller, M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Division of Infectious Diseases Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Torrance CA 90502

Dr. Loren Miller

Loren G. Miller, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Medicine,
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Division of Infectious Diseases
Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA
Torrance CA 90502 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Miller: We know that medication adherence (compliance) by patients to all sort of treatments for a variety of diseases is suboptimal. Adherence to medication varies a lot by disease state (e.g. it is typically high in cancer and low in hypertension), but adherence to antibiotics for skin infection is unstudied. We wanted to find out what adherence is to antibiotics for patients with skin infections is and whether it was associated with important clinical outcomes.

We measured patients adherence to antibiotic dosing by using medication containers fitted with electronic caps that reported when the patient opened the antibiotic container.
We followed 87 patients who had been hospitalized and suffered S. aureus associated skin and soft tissue infections

We found that patients with S. aureus skin and soft tissue infections, on average, took just 57% of their prescribed antibiotic doses after leaving the hospital. Lower antibiotic adherence was associated with a higher chance of skin infection relapse or recurrence.

Interestingly, we also found a large discrepancy in patient reports and the electronic measurement. Patients reported taking, on average, 96% of their medication, or nearly twice the 57% reported by the electronic caps. This suggests that asking patients how well they took their medication is highly problematic as non-adherent patients will typically vastly overstate their medication adherence.

We also found higher rates of non-adherence to antibiotic regimens among patients who were prescribed more than one antibiotic after leaving the hospital, didn’t see the same healthcare provider for follow-up visits or felt they didn’t have a regular healthcare provider

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Mail Order Pharmacies Linked To Better Compliance With Stroke Medications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr-William-Patrick-Neil

William P. Neil, MD

Vascular Neurologist
SCPMG Regional Stroke Champion
Neurology   

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Neil: Stroke survivors are less likely to have a recurrent stroke, or other complications if they take their medications as prescribed by their doctor. Mail order pharmacies are increasingly being used to deliver medications for a variety of diseases, and their use is associated with better medication adherence.  We wanted to see whether stroke patients who use mail-order pharmacies were more likely to have good medication adherence than those who used  local pharmacies.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Neil: We looked through a large electronic medical database in California, and found a total of 48,746 people discharged from the hospital with a stroke, and who also filled either a cholesterol medication or an anticoagulant (blood thinner). Of these, 136,722 refills were from a local pharmacy and 68,363 were by mail. Overall, patients were adherent to the medications 46.5% of the time if they picked up the medication from the pharmacy and 74% of the time if they had prescriptions mailed to them.

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Skipping Radiation Cancer Treatments Linked To Worse Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Madhur Garg MD Professor, Clinical director, Department of Radiation Oncology Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Bronx, NY 10467

Dr. Madhur Garg

Dr. Madhur Garg MD
Professor, Clinical director, Department of Radiation Oncology
Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care
Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Bronx, NY 10467

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Garg: In most curative settings, external beam radiotherapy (RT) for the treatment of solid tumors is delivered five days each week over multiple weeks in an outpatient setting. Unintended treatment prolongation, generally attributed to treatment toxicity or inter-current illness, has been associated with inferior tumor control in a number of disease sites. Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care recently identified radiotherapy (RT) noncompliance as a prevalent issue among patients receiving RT with curative intent. Approximately 20% of patients were deemed to be noncompliant, and statistically significant predictors of noncompliance risk included diagnosis, treatment course length, and socioeconomic status (SES). In this report, we examined if radiotherapy noncompliance is associated with clinical outcomes in our patient population.

In this analysis, we have found that treatment noncompliance is associated with inferior clinical outcomes for patients receiving radiotherapy with curative intent. The associations we detected were both statistically significant and clinically meaningful and consistent across disease sites. This is a novel finding that may have significant implications for how cancer care delivery can be improved, particularly in disadvantaged patient populations. Our finding that  radiotherapy noncompliance is strongly associated with inferior outcomes, even after adjusting for confounders such as comorbidity index and SES, suggests to us that noncompliance may serve as a behavioral biomarker for other risk factors that contribute to poor outcomes. These may include noncompliance with other important clinician visits and procedures, lack of social support, and mood disorders.

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Online Health Portals Linked To Better Adherence To Preventive Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shayna L. Henry, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Research & Evaluation Kaiser Permanente Southern California

Dr. Shayna Henry

Shayna L. Henry, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Research & Evaluation
Kaiser Permanente Southern California

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Henry: In this study, we analyzed the electronic health records of 838,638 Kaiser Permanente members in Southern California. We decided to conduct this study because Kaiser Permanente always strives to advance standards of excellence for care, and even with all the outreach resources available to health care providers and staff, gaps in preventive care still arise. It can be hard to get patients engaged in managing their preventive care, because there are so many tasks for them to keep track of – many of which don’t happen on a very regular basis. Online patient portals have been very useful at helping patients get more engaged in their care, but patients still have to make the first move, and put all the pieces together. Our tool, the Online Personal Action Plan (oPAP), puts our members’ health status and preventive and chronic care tasks in a single dashboard, and alerts them via email to their upcoming care needs, prompting them to log in, view their upcoming health care tasks such as annual vaccinations, tests and blood draws for chronic conditions, and routine cancer screenings, and make the necessary medical appointments to close those gaps in care. We wanted to better understand if having access to the oPAP tools was associated with a higher likelihood of taking care of those outstanding health care tasks in a timely manner.

We found that members who used oPAP were more likely to get a mammogram, Pap smear, receive colorectal cancer screenings, and more likely to complete HbA1c testing for diabetes within 90 days of their coming due compared to members who were not registered on our patient portal.   Continue reading

Small Cash Transfers Encourage Mothers To Participate In AIDS Prevention Program

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Marcel Yotebieng, PhD Department of Epidemiology Ohio State University, 304 Cunz Hall Columbus, OH

Dr. Marcel Yotenbieng

Dr Marcel Yotebieng, PhD
Department of Epidemiology
Ohio State University, 304 Cunz Hall
Columbus, OH

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: With the current World Health Organization recommended treatment for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), the risk of transmission of HIV from an infected mother to her baby can be cut from 35-45% to less than 5% in breastfeeding population and <1% in non-breastfeeding population. But in sub-Saharan Africa where over 90% of HIV-infected pregnant women worldwide live, transportation costs and opportunity costs to attend regular clinic visits (to collect drugs) have been identified as important barriers to PMTCT. The provision of economic incentives has the potential to help women overcome these economic barriers. In addition, by creating immediate rewards that “nudge” individuals towards positive health behaviors, financial incentives can also address psychological barriers to health-seeking behavior of HIV-infected pregnant and breastfeeding women. This is the first study to use small cash incentives to encourage women to attend clinic visit and received available PMTCT care. We found that, among newly diagnosed HIV-infected women, small, incremental cash incentives resulted in increased retention along the  prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission cascade and uptake of available services.

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Can Text Messaging Improve Medication Compliance?

Dr. Clara Chow PhD Director of the Cardiovascular division The George Institute, Westmead Hospital Sydney, Australia

Dr.  Chow

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Clara Chow PhD
Director of the Cardiovascular division
The George Institute,
Westmead Hospital
Sydney, Australia

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Chow: Text messaging has immense potential in healthcare. Not only for supporting medication adherence, but we have shown in the “TEXT ME” study its ability to simultaneously influence multiple lifestyle domains like increasing physical activity, embarking on healthier diets and reducing smoking rates. With increasing penetration of mobile phone use in developed as well as developing countries, there is a potential for wider reach, however there remains a need to evaluate the value of text messaging programs in various patient populations to establish the generalizability of these research findings.

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Prescription ReadyFill® Program Improved Medication Adherence and Reduced Waste

Dr. William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Medical Officer Provider Innovation and Analytics, CVS Health

Dr. Shrank

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS
Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Medical Officer
Provider Innovation and Analytics
CVS Health

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Shrank: CVS Health launched, a prescription refill program available at all CVS/pharmacy locations and through CVS/caremark mail pharmacy, to coordinate refills for eligible maintenance prescriptions as a way to save customers time and help them stay on track with their medications. Concerns had previously been raised about the potential of these programs to produce drug waste by reducing a patient’s involvement in the dispensing process, which could result in prescription oversupply and unnecessary health care spending. 

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Shrank: The CVS Health Research Institute found that ReadyFill® improved adherence to medications for common chronic conditions without contributing to drug oversupply.

In fact, those enrolled in the program receiving 30-day supplies of medication had a Medication Possession Ratio (MPR), a measurement for medication adherence, which was three points higher than the control group. For those patients receiving 90-day supplies of chronic medications, their MPR was 1.4 points higher than the control group. In addition, those enrolled in the refill program who received 30-day fills had 2.5 fewer days of oversupply than those in the control group, and those receiving 90-day fills had 2.18 fewer days of oversupply.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Shrank: Medication adherence is a very complex public health challenge, and there are many reasons why people don’t always take their medications as prescribed by their doctor. This research shows that prescription refill programs, like ReadyFill®, are helping to address one of the most common challenges of medication adherence by making the prescription refill process easier and more convenient without contributing to drug oversupply. Increasingly, clinicians are working with their patients to help address barriers to adherence and can suggest their patients inquire about this kind of program when filling their prescriptions to help make adherence easier and more convenient.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Shrank: This research is one of many studies led by the CVS Health Research Institute to better understand and improve medication adherence. Research like this helps ensure that the tools and programs we create are evidence-based and effective.

Citation:

Community Pharmacy Automatic Refill Program Improves Adherence to Maintenance Therapy and Reduces Wasted Medication – 

Olga S. Matlin, PhD; Steven M. Kymes, PhD; Alice Averbukh, MBA, MS; Niteesh K. Choudhry, MD, PhD; Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH; Andrew Bunton, MBA, CFA; Timothy A. Ducharme, MBA; Peter D. Simmons, RPh; and William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS

Published Online: November 13, 2015

Dr. William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS (2015). Prescription ReadyFill® Program Improved Medication Adherence and Reduced Waste

 

Medication Adherence Rates Vary Widely Across US Hospitals

Dr. Tracy Wang Assistant Dean, Continuing Medical Education Director, Center for Educational Excellence Fellowship Associate Program Director Associate Professor of Medicine, Cardiology Duke Clinical Research Institut

Dr. Tracy Wang

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Tracy Wang MD MHS MSc
Assistant Dean, Continuing Medical Education
Director, Center for Educational Excellence
Fellowship Associate Program Director
Associate Professor of Medicine, Cardiology
Duke Clinical Research Institute

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Medication non-adherence is a known challenge in the management of patients with coronary artery disease. Barriers to adherence are multifactorial, attributed to patient, healthcare provider, and social determinants. However, whether patient medication adherence varies across different hospitals is unknown. In this study, we sought to determine whether inter-hospital differences exist in the degree of patient adherence to secondary prevention medications after discharge. Moreover, we assessed whether these hospital-specific variations in medication adherence, if any, correspond to downstream patient outcomes.

We observed that the majority of post-MI patients were prescribed guideline-recommended secondary prevention medications at discharge. However, among those prescribed, we see a significant decline in the use of these medications within just 90 days after discharge. Medication adherence rates varied markedly across U.S. hospitals, with the widest variation seen for post-discharge use of beta-blockers. Hospitals with high post-discharge  medication adherence were associated with significantly lower risk of major adverse cardiovascular events and death or all-cause readmissions when compared with hospitals with low adherence rates, even after adjustment for differences in patient case-mix.

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Two Treatment Options Achieve Control in HIV Infected Children

Dr. Louise Kuhn PhD Professor, Epidemiology Sergievsky Center Columbia University

Dr. Kuhn

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Louise Kuhn PhD
Professor, Epidemiology
Sergievsky Center
Columbia University 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kuhn: Ritonavir-boosted lopinavir-based antiretroviral therapy is recommended as first-line treatment for HIV-infected infants and young children while efavirenz is recommended for adults and older children. There are several advantages of transitioning HIV-infected children to efavirenz-based treatment as they get older.  These advantages include the possibility of once-daily dosing, simplification of co-treatment for tuberculosis, avoidance of some metabolic toxicities, preservation of ritonavir-boosted lopinavir for second-line treatment, and alignment of adult and pediatric treatment regimens. However, there have been concerns about possible reduced viral efficacy of efavirenz-based treatment in children exposed to nevirapine for prevention of mother-to-child transmission.  This is because efavirenz and nevirapine are in the same drug class and the majority of children who become infected despite exposure to nevirapine used for prevention have mutations in their virus that usually predict resistance to this drug class.

In this study, we randomized HIV-infected children to two different treatment strategies: In the control strategy they remained on their initial ritonavir-boosted lopinavir regimen; in the alternative strategy they transitioned to an efavirenz-based regimen.  All children had been exposed to nevirapine used (unsuccessfully) to prevent mother to child HIV transmission and were virologically-suppressed (HIV in blood < 50 copies/ml) at the time of enrollment into the study.  We observed excellent virological control in both groups with fewer than 3% of children having levels of HIV in their blood greater than 1000 copies/ml.  Sustained suppression of virus in blood below 50 copies/ml throughout follow-up was achieved in 82% of the children transitioned to efavirenz-based treatment compared to 72% of children remaining on the control treatment.

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Algorithm Attempts To Overcome Medical Intolerance In Hypertensive Patients

Dr M Lobo PhD FRCP Director Barts BP Centre of Excellence Consultant Physician and Hon Senior Lecturer NIHR Barts Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit William Harvey Research Institute, London MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr M Lobo PhD FRCP

Director Barts BP Centre of Excellence
Consultant Physician and Hon Senior Lecturer
NIHR Barts Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit
William Harvey Research Institute, London

Medical Research: What hypothesis did you set out to investigate and why?

Dr. Lobo: We investigated the clinical utility of a novel treatment algorithm for multi-drug intolerant patients with hypertension who are at very high risk of cardiovascular disease due to uncontrolled blood pressure and inability to take conventional (guideline-based) antihypertensive regiments. These patients are often poorly managed by primary care physicians (or specialists such as cardiologists) because there has been little interest/research in medication intolerance. There has however been a major focus on drug non-adherence as a cause of failure to control hypertension – we believe that a key cause of non-adherence is medication intolerance which patients do not always volunteer.

Medical Research: What is the report’s ultimate take-away message?

Dr. Lobo: Our novel stepwise algorithm was successful in managing uncontrolled hypertension in the majority of patients without needing an increase in their medicines burden. The message therefore is that patients who do not tolerate their antihypertensives do not have to put up with side effects and resultant poor quality of life as we have demonstrated that there are ways to get around medication intolerances.

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Drug Coverage Gap Wider For Older Blacks Than Whites

Louanne Bakk, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Director, Institute on Innovative Aging Policy and Practice School of Social Work The University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY 14260

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Louanne Bakk, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Director, Institute on Innovative Aging Policy and Practice
School of Social Work
The University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY  14260

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Bakk: Medicare Part D reduces out-of-pocket health care costs and increases access to medications.  While overall the benefit has facilitated the purchase of medications, cost sharing exists and be particularly difficult for more vulnerable populations.  Racial and gender disparities in cost-related nonadherence (CRN)  exist under Medicare Part D plans.  However, it was unknown whether the impact of the coverage gap on older Blacks and females.  This study examined whether the Medicare Part D coverage gap directly and indirectly affects the relationship between race, gender, and CRN.

Racial differences in cost-related nonadherence were largely driven by reaching the coverage gap.  In other words, the gap appears to be more difficult for older Blacks than Whites.  Additionally, both reaching and not reaching the coverage gap, poorer health and having a lower income were associated with cost-related nonadherence .

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Primary Care Continuity Reduced Emergency Department Use and Hospitalizations

Nadereh Pourat, PhD Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Adjunct Professor, UCLA School of Dentistry Director of Research, UCLA Center for Health Policy ResearchMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nadereh Pourat, PhD

Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Adjunct Professor, UCLA School of Dentistry
Director of Research, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Pourat: We have succeeded to insure most of the uninsured population in the U.S., but now have to figure out how to reduce costs while improving health. We had the opportunity to examine the role of continuity with a primary care provider, which is one of the pathways that looked promising in improving health and reducing costs. We were evaluating a major demonstration program in California called the Health Care Coverage Initiative (HCCI) and one of the participating counties implemented a policy to increase adherence by only paying for visits if patients went to their assigned providers. We examined what happened to patients who always or sometimes adhered to their provider versus those who never adhered. We found that adherence or continuity reduced emergency department use and hospitalizations. This would lead to savings because of the high costs of these services.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Pourat: The study shows that both patients and clinicians would benefit from continuity with the primary care provider. Clinicians can actually make a difference in helping patients: they can teach patients about self-care and help them manage their conditions better. Patients would benefit from following through with treatment plans and experience less medical error and duplication of services which are potentially harmful. Continuity fosters rapport and trust between patients and providers and can be beneficial to both.

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Improved Hospital Discharge Process May Reduce Medication Nonadherence

Robin Mathews, MD Duke Clinical Research Institute Duke University Medical Center Durham, NCMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Robin Mathews, MD
Duke Clinical Research Institute
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Mathews: Though treatment for patients with an acute myocardial infarction with evidence based therapies has increased significantly over the years, adherence to these therapies after discharge remain sub optimal. We used a validated instrument, the Morisky scale, to assess patient medication adherence.  We found that in a contemporary population of 7,425 patients across 216 hospitals, about 30% of patients were not adherent to prescribed cardiovascular medications as early as 6 weeks after discharge. Patients with low adherence were more likely to report financial hardship as well as have signs of depression. In addition, we found that patients who had follow up arranged prior to discharge and those that received explanations from the provider on the specific medications, were more often adherent to therapies. There was a non significant increase in risk of death or readmission at 2 months (HR [95% CI]: 1.35 [0.98-1.87]) among low adherence patients.

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Majority of Myocardial Infarction Patients Do Not Achieve Risk Factor Control

Andre Paixao, MD Division of Cardiology Emory University Atlanta, GA, 30322.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Andre Paixao, MD
Division of Cardiology
Emory University
Atlanta, GA, 30322.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Paixao: Despite advances in cardiovascular prevention, coronary heart disease remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Understanding risk factor burden and control as well as perceived risk prior to acute myocardial infarction (MI) presentation may identify opportunities for system-based interventions to promote adherence to evidence based recommendations and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Paixao: Our study assessed predicted risk and risk factor control prior to Myocardial Infarction (MI) presentation in 443,117 patients included in the NCDR ACTION Registry-GWTG. Only 36.1% of patients met all assessed risk factor control metrics (i.e. LDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, nonsmoking status and aspirin use among those with prior cardiovascular disease). Risk factor control was suboptimal in the primary and secondary prevention groups.

Prior cardiovascular disease was present in 41.6% of patients presenting with an acute MI. Among those without prior cardiovascular disease or diabetes, only 13.4% were classified as high risk based on the Framingham Risk Score. Continue reading

1 in 4 Patients With Controlled Hypertension Relapse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amneet Sandhu, MD
Department of Internal Medicine
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
University of Colorado
Aurora, CO 80045.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Sandhu: Control of hypertension has improved nationally to guideline recommended levels.  To date, the focus of hypertensive care has been around identification and appropriate treatment to blood pressure goals.  Less emphasis has been placed on maintenance of control or tracking patients with high rates of relapse after achieving control.

This study sought to assess the rate of recidivism in a cohort of hypertensive patients with controlled blood pressure and identify patient and process of care factors associated with recidivism.  We found approximately 25% of hypertensive patients with baseline controlled blood pressure relapse over a median time period of 7.3 months.  Patients with diabetes, high normal baseline blood pressure and poor medication adherence were more likely to suffer from recidivism.

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‘Heart To Heart’ Aims To Improve Adherence to HIV Medications

Marya Viorst Gwadz, Ph.D Senior Research Scientist Director, Transdisciplinary Methods Core Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) New York University College of Nursing New York, NY 10010 MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marya Viorst Gwadz, Ph.D

Senior Research Scientist Director,
Transdisciplinary Methods Core
Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR)
New York University College of Nursing
New York, NY 10010

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Gwadz: HIV is a major success story in that the tolerability, convenience, and efficacy of antiretroviral medications have improved dramatically over the last decade. A number of years ago in the course of another research study with vulnerable individuals infected with HIV in New York City, and we noticed that a substantial proportion of study participants were medically eligible for HIV medications, and had access to medications, but had declined or stopped taking them. We then turned our attention to understanding why this is the case, that is, to identify the individual, social, and structural barriers that persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) experience to antiretroviral therapy. We focused in particular on African American/Black and Latino/Hispanic PLHA, because the overall emphasis of our research group at the NYU College of Nursing is the development and evaluation of culturally targeted intervention approaches to address health disparities. Around 2011, studies of the “HIV cascade of care” began to emerge, which highlighted the problem of poor engagement in HIV care and antiretroviral therapy nationally. The ultimate goal of HIV treatment is viral suppression, but at present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that we have achieved that goal with only 30% of PLHA.

Medical Research: What kind of intervention approach that emerged from these background findings?

Dr. Gwadz: We found that barriers to HIV medication are complex and multi-faceted for PLHA from African American/Black and Latino/Hispanic backgrounds. In particular, PLHA experience serious emotional barriers to the uptake of HIV medications, such as fear of side effects, stigma, and disclosure of HIV status. Further, high rates of substance use and mental health distress, and barriers to accessing services for these concerns, impede medication uptake. Moreover, PLHA who are wary of HIV medication tend to avoid HIV primary care, often because they do not want to feel pressured to take medications, or explain to their providers why they are not taking them. So poor engagement in HIV care, which is very common among PLHA, and low uptake of HIV medication are actually related problems.

With funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (grant #R34MH093352), and in collaboration with Mount Sinai Beth Israel and Mount Sinai St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, we developed a multi-component culturally targeted intervention grounded in the Motivational Interviewing approach that included three individual sessions, 12-24 weeks of patient navigation (as needed), up to five support groups with other PLHA who had declined medication, which were co-led by a “successful” peer who was engaged in HIV care and were taking HIV medication with good adherence. One novel aspect of the intervention was its focus on emotional barriers to HIV medication, and the program’s “no pressure, no judgment” stance, congruent with the Motivational Interviewing approach, was key to engaging participants into the study to talk about these difficult issues.

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Only 1/3 of High Risk Diabetic Patients Comply With Medications

Sameer Bansilal, MD, MS Asst. Prof.- Medicine and Cardiology Clinical Trials & Global Health Studies Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sameer Bansilal, MD, MS
Asst. Prof.- Medicine and Cardiology
Clinical Trials & Global Health Studies
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Bansilal: Our group has previously published data from FREEDOM, COURAGE and BARI showing that adherence to recommended therapies are low in diabetic (DM) patients. We have spent the last decade developing a potential solution to this- the Fuster-Ferrer polypill. This study was done to better inform the association between levels of medication adherence and long term major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in high risk diabetic patients.

We analyzed a U.S. health insurers’ claims data for 19,962 high risk diabetic subjects. Using proportion of days covered (PDC) for 1 year after first refill, we stratified patients as fully adherent (FA≥80%), partially adherent (PA ≥40- ≤79%) or non-adherent (NA <40%) and examined the associations with a primary cardiovascualr outcome measure of death, myocardial infarction, stroke and coronary revascularization. We found that only 34% participants were fully adherent to therapy. When compared to being non-adherent at 2 yrs follow up,, being fully adherent was associated with a 28% lower rate of MACE; being partially adherent was associated with a 21% lower rate of MACE. Efforts towards improving adherence in diabetic subjects may lead to substantial reductions in MACE.

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Free Personalized Text Messages Remind Patients To Take Medications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Avinash Pandey,
the study author, is a high school student who conducted this study under the guidance of his mentor, Niteesh K. Choudhry., M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Healthcare Delivery Sciences, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Numerous studies have demonstrated that there is poor adherence to medications in cardiac patients (coronary artery disease patients, CAD). Despite the fact that non-adherence to these medications can have serious consequences on long-term health like disease progression, increased risk of cardiac events and premature mortality, many patients consistently miss their medications and many stop their medications only months after they are prescribed. This non-compliance leads to high costs for the health care system and more potentially preventable cardiac events. Studies suggest, that for the vast majority of patients, non-adherence to medications is not intentional. A significant portion simply forget to take their medications. Although many systems are available today to reduce medication non-adherence, like pill boxes and blisterpacks, these have demonstrated limited effect on medication adherence. Other systems may be expensive to purchase and cumbersome to use or of limited availability. With the proliferation of cellphones, text message reminders could represent a simple, cost-effective method to improve adherence to medications.

This research began as a high school science fair project 4 years ago and has evolved into a large ongoing assessment of the impact of mobile technologies on adherence to evidence based therapies and lifestyle interventions in a broad cross-section of cardiovascular patients and those at risk for cardiovascular disease. The current report examines the impact of an automated computer program which sends free, personalized text messages to remind patients to adhere to their medications. 30 CAD patients were recruited from a single centre cardiac practice, in this 2 month cross-over study. Patients were randomized to either receive text message reminders in the first month or the second month. Adherence of each patient was compared between months. Text message reminders were shown to significantly impact medication adherence. Patients missed on average 60% less doses when receiving text message reminders. These numbers were even greater when looking at pre-specified groups identified in previous studies to be at high risk of medication non-adherence, including depression patients, dementia patients, elderly patients, and patients with less than 12 years of education. All patients improved with text message reminders but those with the lowest adherence improved the most. Although this study did not examine clinical outcomes, the text message reminder system appears to be a simple and widely applicable method to improve adherence to medications. The system is free to operate and represents no cost for patients receiving messages. Thus it could be implemented at an individual level or by physicians and clinics to improve patient adherence to medications.

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Peer Mentoring May Improve Youth Diabetes Control

Dr. Yang Lu Ph.D Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute Dr. Lu’s research interests include utilization, cost and treatment regimen adherence of chronic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes; behavioral economic interventions, and cost effectiveness studiesMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Yang Lu Ph.D

Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute
Dr. Lu’s research interests include utilization, cost and treatment regimen adherence of chronic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes; behavioral economic
interventions, and cost effectiveness studies

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Response: Non-adherence is a serious issue in type 1 diabetes management. It leads to
poor glycemic control and peaks in adolescence and young adulthood. Peer
support is critical for young patients yet few studies examined whether
pairing youth with slightly older and more experienced peers with diabetes
improves their diabetes self-management and glycemic control.
This study had two aims:

(1) assess whether adolescents (as prospective mentees) and young
adults (as prospective mentors) with diabetes would be interested in peer
mentoring as a way to improve adherence, and

(2) identify contents and delivery modes for a peer mentoring topic from the perspective of patients and their parents. Fifty-four adolescents and 46 young adults with type 1
diabetes were surveyed.

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How Many Pills Are Patients Willing To Take To Prevent Disease?

Robert Hutchins, M.D., M.P.H. Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine UCSFMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Robert Hutchins, M.D., M.P.H.

Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine
UCSF

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Hutchins: “Utility” refers to the effect on quality of life that a certain intervention carries and a utility value generally varies from 0-1.0.  The more negative the effect is, the lower the utility value (closer to 0), and the less it affects quality of life, the closer to 1.0 it is.  On a theoretical scale, “perfect health” is 1.0 and death is 0.  There are a number of studies that — USE a utility value for taking pills, generally between 0.95 and 1.0.  However, many cost-effectiveness analyses ignore the utility value altogether, or arbitrarily choose 1.0 as the utility.  We found that a small change in the utility value can have a very large effect on the overall cost-effectiveness of an intervention.  We found that the utility value of taking pills, assessed by three different commonly used methods, to be 0.990-0.994, depending on the method.

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New Approach Assesses Barrier To Self Care In Heart Failure Patients

Richard J. Holden, PhD Assistant Professor Department of BioHealth Informatics Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing – Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN  46202MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Richard J. Holden, PhD Assistant Professor
Department of BioHealth Informatics
Indiana University
School of Informatics and Computing – Indianapolis
Indianapolis, IN  46202

Medical Research: What was your motivation for this study?

Dr. Holden: Many patients arrive in the emergency room with acute heart failure (AHF), a worsening of their chronic heart failure condition. These visits and subsequent hospital admissions and readmissions for acute heart failure represent a sizeable cost in the US healthcare system. Evidence suggests that some of these cases could be prevented if patients were better able to perform self-care activities such as monitoring their symptoms, taking medications, getting exercise, and maintaining a sodium-restricted diet. However, in community-based studies that we and others have done, patients with heart failure face a variety of barriers to optimally performing self-care. We therefore created an instrument to assess barriers to self-care, which we designed to be implemented in the emergency room. We tested the instrument with 31 patients with acute heart failure at Vanderbilt University’s adult Emergency Department.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Holden: Almost everyone who participated reported experiencing barriers to self-care. A median of 15 barriers per patient were reported. Of the 47 barriers that we tested, 34 were reported by at least one quarter of participants. The top ten most prevalent barriers included individual-level factors such as physical disability, disease knowledge, and memory deficits as well as factors related to the organization of home life, including major disruptions such as holidays. Other barriers were related to inadequate health information, low literacy, and lack of resources. Many barriers interacted with one another, for example, lack of transportation yet not wanting to rely on others. We found that the instrument could be feasibly administered within a short period following the patient’s emergency room arrival.
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Electronic Reminder Improved Asthma Medication Adherence

Amy Chan   BPharm(Hons) RegPharmNZ  MPS  ANZCP Pharmacist / PhD candidate Department of Paediatrics Auckland Hospital Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences University of Auckland  Auckland, New ZealandMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amy Chan  
BPharm(Hons) RegPharmNZ  MPS  ANZCP
Pharmacist / PhD candidate
Department of Paediatrics Auckland Hospital
Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences
University of Auckland  Auckland, New Zealand

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Asthma is one of the most common childhood conditions, affecting 1 in 4 children in New Zealand.  Although there are many effective medications available for asthma, of which the most important are inhaled corticosteroids, asthma control remains suboptimal due to poor adherence.  In children, adherence to regular preventive asthma therapy is about 50%, and can be as low as 30%.  Our randomised controlled trial looked at use of an electronic monitoring device with an in-built audiovisual reminder to see if it improved adherence and asthma control.  We recruited 220 children aged between 6-15yrs, who presented to the emergency department with asthma and randomised them to receive the device either with the audiovisual function enabled or disabled.  It found that those who received the audiovisual reminder (the intervention arm) took a median of 84% of their inhaled corticosteroids compared to just 30% in those who did not receive the reminder (control arm).  This equates to a 180% improvement in adherence.  We found significant improvements also in asthma control (including reduced asthma symptoms and increased participation in daily activities) and a reduction in reliever use from 17.4% to 9.5% in those who received the reminder. Continue reading

Study Aims To Determine Why Patients Drop Out of Colon Cancer Screening

Dr Siu Hing Lo Research Associate in Health Psychology UCL Research Department of Epidemiology and PublicMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Siu Hing Lo

Research Associate in Health Psychology UCL
Research Department of Epidemiology and Public

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Lo: Most types of population-based cancer screening – such as the Faecal Occult Blood (FOB) test – require repeat participation to be effective. The Faecal Occult Blood test is a stool test that typically needs to be self-completed every two years. This study investigated predictors of repeat participation in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BCSP). Late kit return, a definitive abnormal [FOB test] result and failure to comply with a follow-up colonoscopy in a previous screening episode were consistently and independently associated with lower repeat uptake.

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Text Message Improves Pediatric Flu Vaccination Rates

Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, FAAP Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Population and Family Health Columbia University - College of Physicians & Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health Medical Director, New York-Presbyterian Hospital Immunization Registry (EzVac) Co-Director, Primary Care Clinician Research Fellowship in Community Health New York, NY 10032MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, FAAP

Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Population and Family Health, Columbia University – College of Physicians & Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health
Medical Director, New York-Presbyterian Hospital Immunization Registry (EzVac);
Co-Director, Primary Care Clinician Research Fellowship in Community Health

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  Influenza can be a very serious disease and is more than just a bad cold.  Some children who are 6 months through 8 years need two doses of the influenza vaccine in a season depending on if and when they received previous influenza vaccine doses. We know that only about half of these families who want to vaccinate their children against the flu and get the first dose, come back to get the second dose.
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Smart Phone Technology May Improve Medication Adherence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Frederick Kaskel: MD PhD Chief, Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Department of Pediatrics Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Dr. Frederick Kaskel: MD PhD

Chief, Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Department of Pediatrics
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Frederick Kaskel: Non-adherence to medication and medical regimens is a serious and common problem in adolescents with various kidney disorders, resulting in increasing morbidity and mortality. Innovative efforts to engage this at risk population to prevent or lessen the cycle of non-adherence are needed.

Employing new smart phone technology has resulted in changes in this targeted population’s awareness of their conditions and need to be adherent to the medical regimen.

Texting reminders regarding medication alerts may result in a better participation of the adolescent in his/her health care governance. Long-term studies are needed in order to assess outcomes.

Citation:

2014 ASN abstract:

Utilization of Smart Phones and Medication Adherence in Adolescents with Kidney Disorders
 

Chronic Kidney Disease Checklist Improves Primary Care Management

Mallika L. Mendu, M.D. Division of Renal Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA 02115.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mallika L. Mendu, M.D.
Division of Renal Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA 02115.


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Mendu: Our study found that implementation of a chronic kidney disease (CKD) checklist, a tool that succinctly and clearly outlines CKD management guidelines, in a primary care clinic improved adherence to a number of significant management guidelines. We conducted a prospective study during a one year period among 13 primary care providers, four of whom were assigned to use a CKD checklist incorporated into the electronic medical record during visits with patients with CKD. Patients whose providers utilized a CKD checklist had higher rates of adherence to annual albuminuria testing, parathyroid hormone testing, phosphate testing, achieving a hemoglobin A1c target<7, documentation of avoidance of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, use of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin-receptor blocker and vaccination for annual influenza and 5-year pneumococcus.
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Surprising Number of Patients Do Not Take Their Prescribed Statin Medication

Dr. Heli Halava: Departments of Public Health and Pharmacology, Turku, FinlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Heli Halava:
Departments of Public Health and Pharmacology,
Turku, Finland

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Halava: The associations between lifestyle factors and nonadherence to statin therapy varied by cardiovascular comorbidity status. Of the participants without cardiovascular comorbidities (n = 6458), 3171 (49.1%) were nonadherent with their statin therapy. Of the participants with cardiovascular comorbidities (n = 2827), 1155 (40.9%) were nonadherent.

People with cardiovascular comorbidities who had risky drinking behaviours or a cluster of lifestyle risks were at increased risk of nonadherence.
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Schizophrenia Treatment Maintenance: Comparison of Long Acting Injectable Medications

Scott Stroup, MD, MPH Professor of Psychiatry Director, Program for Intervention Effectiveness Research, Associate Director for Adult Services, Division of Mental Health Services and Policy Research,  New York State Psychiatric Institute Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New YorkMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Scott Stroup, MD, MPH
Professor of Psychiatry
Director, Program for Intervention Effectiveness Research,
Associate Director for Adult Services, Division of Mental Health Services and Policy Research,  New York State Psychiatric Institute
Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Stroup: We conducted a study sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health that compared long-acting injectable antipsychotics for people with schizophrenia. Long-acting injectable antipsychotics, also known as depot antipsychotics, are used to promote treatment adherence.  We compared a newer injectable antipsychotic, paliperidone palmitate, to an older one, haloperidol decanoate.  We did not find an advantage for the newer drug in overall effectiveness.  The drugs performed very similarly, and were tolerated about the same.
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Why Do Some Patients Fail To Get Their Prescriptions Filled?

Robyn Tamblyn BScN Msc PhD James McGill Chair Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics McGill University Scientific Director Institute of Health Services and Policy Research Canadian Institutes of Health Research MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Robyn Tamblyn BScN Msc PhD
James McGill Chair
Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics
McGill University and Scientific Director
Institute of Health Services and Policy Research
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Tamblyn: Higher drug costs are associated with a higher probability of primary non-adherence, whereas better follow-up by the prescribing physician, and a policy to provide medication at no cost for the very poor increase the likelihood of adherence

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