At-Home Chemo Patients Benefit from Accredo

Accredo Specialty Pharmacy helps increase patient adherence rates

At-Home Chemo Patients Benefit from Accredo

Patients taking oral oncology medications face a combination of challenges that can make it difficult to remain adherent to their medications. Research shows that Accredo can help.

When it comes to cancer, optimum adherence rates to oral oncology agents can help improve health outcomes and lower treatment costs. Express Scripts research — recently published in the American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits — demonstrates that patients taking the oral oncology medication Gleevec are nearly 50% more likely to achieve optimum adherence rates when using Accredo compared to other dispensing channels.

The study confirms that Accredo’s model for oncology care is important. While it may seem that oral oncology medications should be easier to take, that’s not necessarily the case. Patients taking these medications face adherence issues. Oncology specialist pharmacists, like those at Accredo, can walk patients through possible side effects and review what’s needed to help them get through treatment.

The research study, “Specialty Pharmacy Improves Adherence to Imatinib”, looks at Gleevec — known as imatinib generically — a first-line oral oncology agent most often prescribed to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). CML is a slow-growing cancer of the white blood cells in bone marrow and blood. If left untreated, the disease progresses more aggressively.

The introduction of oral oncology agents such as imatinib that a patient can self-administer have helped simplify treatment and can improve survival rates and quality of life for many patients — if patients are adherent. Recommended optimum adherence to imatinib is 90% or above. However, actual average adherence is generally reported to be about 80%, with only 54% of patients achieving adherence rates of 90% or higher.

Patients who already are not feeling well from the disease itself may also experience nausea, vomiting, and other side effects from the medication, and they may stop taking the medication. 

Other common barriers to adherence include prescribers having no direct oversight of patients’ drug-taking behavior. Accredo’s oncology specialist pharmacists can provide the counseling these patients need, identify potential safety concerns, and reach out to the doctor to discuss possible alternatives to a patient’s treatment regimen.   All of this helps ensure appropriate use of medications, boosting adherence and improving health outcomes