Successful Hepatitis C Treatment Begins with YOU

Patients need to take ownership of their treatment regimen.
Would you be surprised to hear that medication nonadherence costs the U.S. health care system billions of dollars each year?

Medication nonadherence is a result of patients failing to take their medication at the prescribed dosage, appropriate time, and scheduled frequency, and not following written directions. In fact, patient nonadherence may be the greatest barrier to the effective use of current and newly approved hepatitis C virus (HCV) medications, especially if health care providers fail to recognize potential obstacles to treatment.

Former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop put it quite frankly when he famously stated, “Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.”

Medication adherence is not exclusively the responsibility of the patient, however. The ability of a physician’s office to recognize nonadherence is challenging and requires specific interviewing skills. Unfortunately, time constraints and the availability of physician staff to actively engage patients about medication adherence may be limited. Each pharmacy also has responsibility to ensure that a patient has the tools necessary to achieve an optimal outcome.

Today, patients have an array of pharmacy options, from mail order to retail. One of the more recent options available is specialty pharmacy, which offers a walk-in environment, a mail-order option, or a hybrid of both. Specialty pharmacies employ a number of tactics to engage a patient, improve outcomes, and communicate with physicians.

Due to the complex issues related to the recently approved HCV medications, which include drug–drug interactions, incidences of adverse effects, and medication costs, specialty pharmacies are helping to maximize patient outcomes by employing these resources to support a patient during their management of HCV. As the approval of new medications for HCV continues, cure rates are nearing 100 percent with shorter overall medication exposure. However, optimal results can only become a reality with all stakeholders actively engaged.

An alignment of patient, physician, and pharmacy goals will greatly enhance a patient’s chances to achieve optimal health outcomes and overcome HCV. To learn more about how a specialty pharmacy can assist, please visit:

About the Author

Eric Sredzinski, PharmD, is the Executive Vice President of Clinical Affairs and Quality Assurance for  Avella Specialty Pharmacy.

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