04 Jun Many Teens Do Not Fill Their Prescriptions for STDs
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Monika K. Goyal, M.D., MSCE
Assistant chief of Children’s Division
Emergency Medicine and Trauma Services
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Adolescents are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and often present to the emergency department for care. I have devoted almost 15 years of my career trying to improve the sexual health of teens through advocacy and the development of novel interventions in the emergency department to increase access to sexual health services for youths.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: More than 40% of adolescents did not fill their prescriptions for treatment of sexually transmitted infections after being diagnosed in the emergency department.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Sexually transmitted infections are currently affecting teens at epidemic proportions, and adolescents frequently seek care in the emergency department. There may be many barriers to treatment adherence in this high-risk population. We need to develop innovative methods to improve care for this vulnerable group.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: The first step is trying to understand the barriers that hinder teens from filling prescriptions; these can include financial constraints, transportation barriers, inadequate education around sexual health and confidentiality concerns, to name a few. Understanding barriers to prescription filling can then inform our future interventions to improve treatment adherence and decrease the burden of STIs in this population. Furthermore, exploring the development and role of point-of-care testing for STIs – which can provide results within a matter of minutes, rather than days – could help provide treatment during the ED visit, rather than calling patients back for result notification and sending prescriptions to pharmacies days later.
Lieberman A, Badolato GM, Tran J, Goyal MK. Frequency of Prescription Filling Among Adolescents Prescribed Treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections in the Emergency Department. JAMA Pediatr. Published online May 28, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1263
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