Virtual Coaching Helps Patients on Complex Therapies Remain Adherent

Virtual Coaching Helps Patients on Complex Therapies Remain Adherent

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published its final recommendation that all U.S. baby boomers should get a one-time test for the hepatitis C virus.  This recommendation has been a reminder to us all of the significance of this disease which claims the lives of more than 15,000 Americans each year.  And, of the 3.2 million Americans infected with the virus, more than 2 million were born between 1945 and 1965. 

Last year’s launch of a new drug class, protease inhibitors, has brought new hope to many patients with hepatitis C.   These new drugs, Incivek (telaprevir) and Victrelis (boceprever), when taken as an add-on to current pegylated interferon/ribavirin dual therapy, have benefitted many genotype 1 patients who were not responding to other forms of treatment.

Patients with hepaitits C, genotype 1, typically take a triple therapy regimen, which includes Incivek or Victrelis, as well as pegylated interferon alfa, taken as an injection weekly, and ribavirin, a pill, taken daily. 

Both drug regimens have the potential to improve the quality of patients’ health and even cure the disease.  Yet both drugs require rigorous treatment of combination therapies, and they often come with side effects ranging from flu-like symptoms to suicidal tendencies. 

Custom Adherence programs in support of the patients taking these drugs are especially important.  That’s why our Specialty Pharmacy nurses support patients through each step of therapy, educating them on their combination therapy regimen to make sure patients take their medications faithfully and correctly as prescribed. 

In addition, an innovative new video education tool, called Virtual Coaching, gives patients an “inside the body” view of how a protease inhibitor works to prevent the hepatitis C virus from breaking apart and reproducing in the body.  The video also provides audio and visual instructions to patients on how to schedule their doses, what types of food to take with their medication, and the time required in between doses. 

With the support of our clinical adherence team and online resources, patients have renewed hope for improved health.

Lily Duong, PharmD, RPh., is Sr. Director, Pharma Clinical Business Development.