Cost of Cancer Drugs Strongly Affects Treatment Adherence

A study of over 1,500 cancer patients showed that drug costs have a significant effect on whether patients stick to their treatment plan. The study’s subjects had been prescribed imatinib (Gleevec), a treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Patients with higher co-payments were 42% more likely to skip doses and 70% percent more likely to stop taking Gleevec entirely. Missing only 15% of prescribed Gleevec doses significantly raises the chance of the cancer developing drug resistance and relapsing. The study also found drastic differences in out-of-pocket treatment costs, with co-payments ranging from nothing to $4,792 for a 30-day supply of Gleevec. The average co-payment amount more than doubled over the 9-year course of the study.


Cost of Cancer Drugs Strongly Affects Treatment Adherence

A study of over 1,500 cancer patients showed that drug costs have a significant effect on whether patients stick to their treatment plan. The study’s subjects had been prescribed imatinib (Gleevec), a treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Patients with higher co-payments were 42% more likely to skip doses and 70% percent more likely to stop taking Gleevec entirely. Missing only 15% of prescribed Gleevec doses significantly raises the chance of the cancer developing drug resistance and relapsing. The study also found drastic differences in out-of-pocket treatment costs, with co-payments ranging from nothing to $4,792 for a 30-day supply of Gleevec. The average co-payment amount more than doubled over the 9-year course of the study.


Cost of Cancer Drugs Strongly Affects Treatment Adherence

A study of over 1,500 cancer patients showed that drug costs have a significant effect on whether patients stick to their treatment plan. The study’s subjects had been prescribed imatinib (Gleevec), a treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Patients with higher co-payments were 42% more likely to skip doses and 70% percent more likely to stop taking Gleevec entirely. Missing only 15% of prescribed Gleevec doses significantly raises the chance of the cancer developing drug resistance and relapsing. The study also found drastic differences in out-of-pocket treatment costs, with co-payments ranging from nothing to $4,792 for a 30-day supply of Gleevec. The average co-payment amount more than doubled over the 9-year course of the study.


Too Little or Too Much: Medication Adherence Problems with Oral Cancer Drugs

New cancer drugs that can be taken orally allow patients to take their medication at home, making treatment significantly more convenient. However, moving treatment out of the controlled hospital environment increases the risk of medication mistakes. A review found that 20% to 80% of patients taking oral cancer drugs deviated from the correct dose. Problems included both underadherence (taking less medication than prescribed) and overadherence (taking too much medication). Reasons for overadherence included patients continuing to take their medication during ‘rest cycles’ intended to be drug-free or overcompensating for missed doses. Under- and overadherence were more likely in patients with complex drug regimens. Overadherence was associated with more side effects, while underadherence decreased side effects, but risked undermining the effectiveness of the cancer treatment.


Too Little or Too Much: Medication Adherence Problems with Oral Cancer Drugs

New cancer drugs that can be taken orally allow patients to take their medication at home, making treatment significantly more convenient. However, moving treatment out of the controlled hospital environment increases the risk of medication mistakes. A review found that 20% to 80% of patients taking oral cancer drugs deviated from the correct dose. Problems included both underadherence (taking less medication than prescribed) and overadherence (taking too much medication). Reasons for overadherence included patients continuing to take their medication during ‘rest cycles’ intended to be drug-free or overcompensating for missed doses. Under- and overadherence were more likely in patients with complex drug regimens. Overadherence was associated with more side effects, while underadherence decreased side effects, but risked undermining the effectiveness of the cancer treatment.


Too Little or Too Much: Medication Adherence Problems with Oral Cancer Drugs

New cancer drugs that can be taken orally allow patients to take their medication at home, making treatment significantly more convenient. However, moving treatment out of the controlled hospital environment increases the risk of medication mistakes. A review found that 20% to 80% of patients taking oral cancer drugs deviated from the correct dose. Problems included both underadherence (taking less medication than prescribed) and overadherence (taking too much medication). Reasons for overadherence included patients continuing to take their medication during ‘rest cycles’ intended to be drug-free or overcompensating for missed doses. Under- and overadherence were more likely in patients with complex drug regimens. Overadherence was associated with more side effects, while underadherence decreased side effects, but risked undermining the effectiveness of the cancer treatment.