The gist: Doctors in the U.S. are now free to prescribe a treatment for severe neutropenia that patients can give to themselves at home. The treatment is called Granix. Being able to inject Granix at home could help patients reduce the number of visits to the doctor’s office. Neutropenia is a condition in which a patient has a lower-than-normal number of white blood cells in their bloodstream. It is a side effect of some cancer treatments.
“The FDA has approved a self-administered injection of the leukocyte growth factor tbo-filgrastim for patients with nonmyeloid malignancies, allowing more flexibility for physicians to prescribe the drug for in-office or at-home use, the drug’s manufacturer announced.
“Tbo-filgrastim (Granix, Teva Pharmaceuticals), which has been commercially available in the US since November, 2013, has been indicated to allow for the marketing of a new syringe that can be administered either by the patient or a caregiver without having to visit the physician’s office.
“ ‘In partnership with their physician, patients will be able to decide whether administering Granix via self-injection at home or by a healthcare professional is the right course for them,’ Lee S. Schwartzberg, MD, FACP, division chief of hematology oncology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Knoxville, Tenn., said in a statement released by Teva. ‘Selecting a course of self-administration may allow patients to consolidate the number of required visits to their physician and allow additional access for patients who have challenges in visiting their providers.’ ”
“Home therapy helps control symptoms and save on the costs of treating lymphedema, a painful, often debilitating side effect of life-saving cancer treatments, a new study has found.
“Patients with swelling caused by cancer-associated lymphedema can both reduce the severity of the disease and the overall cost of medical care by taking therapeutic steps at home, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
“The study looked at the prevalence of lymphedema, a common side effect of cancer treatments, and found that the average annual cost of care for a patient with the condition decreased from $62,190 to $50,000 a year when the patient used pneumatic compression devices to treat the swelling.
” ‘Total health-care costs for these patients are very high, but can be profoundly reduced with treatment intervention, in this case a compression device,’ said Stanley Rockson, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford and senior author of the study, published online Dec. 3 in PLOS ONE. ‘This is clearly a compelling argument for increased coverage of similar home-care devices to reduce costs.’ “