PHARMACY

Drug adherence study shows that patients suffering despression often go off medication

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A company that provides patient adherence and education programs released a study recently that examined adherence rates among patients on SSRI/SNRI antidepressant therapy.

The study, by Burlington, Mass.-based Adheris, found that patients new to antidepressant treatment and those who had restarted therapy after a lapse of six months or more were twice as likely to discontinue therapy in the first 30 days of treatment versus patients previously dispensed an antidepressant.

It also found that the greatest differences in the duration of antidepressant use were not among patients using different drugs, but among patients taking the same drug with different levels of prior experience with antidepressants.

The study appears in the September issue of the journal Clinical Therapeutics. It included more than 211,000 patients taking SSRI/SNRIs from 1,157 retail pharmacies across the country.

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HealthPartners site helps Minneapolis area patients estimate healthcare costs

BY Alaric DeArment

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. A healthcare organization has launched a Web site that quotes prices for 83 procedures at the primary care and radiology centers in its network in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

HealthPartners announced the launch Tuesday. The price listings are in the ?Find a Provider/Clinic? section of its Web site, www.healthpartners.com.

The prices listed are for five high-volume service categories, including office visits, immunizations and vaccines, lab services, X-rays and CTs and MRIs. For example, a wrist X-ray at one of the clinics costs $61.60, while an influenza test costs $29.18.

“This is an important step forward in transparency because the information we provide is for specific prices rather than a range,” HealthPartners senior vice president for customer service and product innovation Scott Aebischer said. “This information is particularly useful for members who are paying out-of-pocket fees.”

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FDA challenges Bayer’s TV commercial claims about Yaz

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The Food and Drug Administration told Bayer in a letter Tuesday that two of the company’s TV commercials for its premenstrual dysphoric disorder drug Yaz are misleading.

The FDA said one commercial suggests the drug is approved for treating post-menopausal syndrome by saying it treats irritability, moodiness and bloating—symptoms common to PMDD and PMS. That commercial, which featured women hitting balloons while singing “We’re not gonna take it,” has been pulled.

The second commercial had the song “Good-Bye to You” and women releasing balloons with symptoms written on them. The FDA said evidence has not demonstrated that Yaz eliminates symptoms, even though the commercial suggests that it does.

Yaz (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol) had global sales of $1.42 billion in 2007, according to Bayer financial data.

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