HEALTH

CVS Caremark study notes lack of adherence to cholesterol-lowering medications

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. More than 50% of adults under the age of 45 who are prescribed a medication to treat high cholesterol are not taking their medication as prescribed, according to the findings of a study released Thursday by CVS Caremark.

In fact, the study found that 58% of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 are not taking their cholesterol-lowering medications as prescribed.

The study examined adherence to cholesterol-lowering medications by evaluating de-identified data for more than 74,000 adult patients from the CVS Caremark Health Management Claims Database who incurred claims from a cholesterol-lowering medication between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2008.

They study found that 42% of patients between the ages of 18 and 34 were optimally adherent to their medications with a medication possession ratio of greater than 80%. In addition, among those patients ages 35 to 44, half were identified as optimally adherent to their high cholesterol medication.

Medication possession ratio is the standard statistic used to measure medication adherence via pharmacy chains.

“This data illustrates that younger adults with high cholesterol are not taking their medication as prescribed, putting them at increased risk for developing heart disease, worsening their long term clinical outcomes and ultimately increasing the cost of their care,” stated Troyen A. Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer for CVS Caremark. “CVS Caremark engages plan participants with chronic diseases, such as high cholesterol, by addressing barriers to evidence-based care. We engage patients in their care early in the process by providing disease and therapy education and help them improve medication adherence through proactive intervention and outreach.”

To help patients adhere to their medication, CVS Caremark has developed the Proactive Pharmacy Care approach, which engages patients earlier with education and personalized outreach to improve adherence. The Adherence to Care solution is a mail and retail-based program designed to impact patient behavior through timely interventions that include face-to-face, first fill counseling; IVR and Web refill reminders, renewals and pick-up prompts; and personalized letters about the importance of staying on a prescribed therapy sent to those patients who have stopped filling a maintenance prescription and their healthcare provider.

According to CVS Caremark, the Adherence to Care program has been shown to help increase adherence to high cholesterol therapies with those members under 45 years of age who participate in the program experiencing a medication possession ratio increase of more than 9%.

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ParaPRO develops lice educational tool on Web site

BY Michael Johnsen

CARMEL, Ind. To help school nurses and parents educate children about head lice, ParaPRO last week developed a Head Lice Educational tool kit that can be accessed and downloaded at www.dritchy.com.

“A search on the term “head lice” on Google will return over 1 million links,” stated Roland Bydlon, director of marketing at ParaPRO.  “ParaPRO has created a fictional character Dr. Itchy and a disease awareness web site www.dritchy.com to help health care professionals inform caregivers, parents and children about head lice in an entertaining but educational way. The web site does not recommend a particular product or therapy. Our goal is that professionals and caregivers will go to Dr. Itchy first for reliable information about head lice and treatment options.”

Currently, ParaPRO is developing a prescription head lice treatment called NatrOVA. NatrOVA is twice as effective as Nix, the company stated, citing a recent comparison clinical trial that compared the two lice remedies across 400 households. And unlike Nix, the company noted, NatrOVA also kills nits, or the lice eggs.

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Survey: Americans’ hand-washing habits haven’t changed

BY Michael Johnsen

MILWAUKEE Worries about the H1N1 virus haven’t changed most Americans’ hand-washing habits, according to a national survey released by Bradley Corp. Tuesday morning.

In Bradley’s first Healthy Hand Washing Survey, 54% of respondents reported they “wash their hands no more or less frequently” in public restrooms since the H1N1 virus emerged.

“We were extremely surprised by that response especially since the medical community calls hand washing the best defense against the spread of cold and flu viruses,” stated Jon Dommisse, director of marketing and product development at Bradley Corporation.

Bradley’s survey, conducted online July 28-31, queried 1,020 Americans about hand washing in public restrooms. The respondents were from around the country, ranged in age from 18 to over 65 and were equally divided by gender.

Although 87% said they did wash their hands after using public lavatories, other responses indicated some may have exaggerated how often they did the job correctly. When asked if they had also used soap, the numbers declined slightly to 86%; yet 55% of the group admitted on occasion they’ve simply rinsed, without using soap.

In contrast to what people say they do, numerous observational studies have reported what Americans actually do. In 2007, researchers from the American Society for Microbiology found only 77% washed their hands after using a public restroom.

Hand-washing among school-age children is especially important since at least 22 million school days are lost every year due to the common cold, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Hand-washing is a lifetime health practice,” says Dommisse. “Children should understand its benefits and take that knowledge into adulthood.”

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