Every Breath Counts for PAH Patients

Nov 6, 2018

Our team in the Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Therapeutic Resource Center® helps patients and caregivers manage complex regimens that may include oral, intravenous and inhaled therapies.

patient woman header

In recognition of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) awareness month, we highlight this condition as well as the clinical care provided by our specialist pharmacists, nurses and patient care advocates in the PAH Therapeutic Resource Center (TRC).

PAH causes high blood pressure in the arteries that go from the heart to the lungs. The tiny arteries in the lungs become narrow or blocked, making it harder for blood to flow through them and causing the heart muscle to get weak.

Early symptoms of PAH typically include shortness of breath during normal physical activity, fatigue, chest pains, a racing heartbeat. As the disease gets worse, patients may also have lightheadedness, fainting, swelling in hands, legs or belly, dry cough, and blue lips or fingers.

Many people who get PAH are women between the ages of 30 and 60. However, it can happen to people of all ages, races, and sexes.

A History of PAH Care

Accredo has been caring for PAH patients since the first prostacyclin was approved in 1995. Non-adherence to prescribed medications can be life-threatening for PAH patients. We develop care plans to support each patient, and we assist patients in initiating home administration of inhaled and intravenous therapies.

Recent research from Accredo confirms a high-touch clinical care model helps to keep patients on the most appropriate, timely therapy unique to their needs. Our proprietary protocol, called Clinical Assessment and Risk Evaluation (CARE), screens patients receiving oral monotherapy with endothelin receptor antagonists (ETRA) for potential clinical worsening and alerts their prescribing physician to any complications.

As a result, potential gaps in therapy are identified sooner and patients are more likely to be on the most appropriate therapy for their needs. Our recent research shows that:

  • Patients in the program were 28% more likely to transition at the appropriate time to another therapy compared to those not enrolled in the program.
  • Patients stayed on oral therapy, on average, a month longer than patients without this level of oversight.
  • An average of $5,500 can be saved for every patient who stays on oral monotherapy for 30 days compared to other therapies.

The program’s close monitoring, paired with prescribing physician collaboration, improve outcomes for patients with PAH.

Helping Patients Live Full, Active Lives

PAH patients, just like many other patients, are raising families, working and leading busy lives. It’s imperative that their medication is with them wherever they go. Our care team works with hundreds of patients every day to ensure they have the medication they need – when and where they need it. These are just a few examples of the patients we serve:

  • A patient’s back-up supply of medication broke when she was on a Caribbean cruise. The patient called us from an island stop. The ship would leave port at 5 p.m., so we had to decide on our plan of action right away. One of our specialist pharmacists instructed the patient and her husband, step-by-step, how to mix a new concentration of medication using the small amount of medicine she had left and what settings to change on her pump. This would allow her enough time to enjoy the rest of the cruise and get home to her back-up supply of medication.
  • Coverage for medication for a seven-week old baby with PAH had been delayed due to the patient’s health insurance company. The physician’s office asked Accredo to facilitate insurance company approval and dispense the medicine in less than a day. Our team successfully obtained the needed approval, dispensed the medication and educated the family to protect the patient from incorrect dosing. With the help of our team, a new family was able to take their baby home from the hospital.
  • A homeless patient had been picking up his PAH medication at a retail pharmacy every three days. Because he was transient, this caused a burden for him and he was at a high risk of non-adherence. An Accredo patient care advocate understood the complexity of the patient’s needs and coordinated all the needed clearance so the patient could receive the drug on an on-going basis at an alternative pharmacy more easily accessible to him. The PCA also followed up before the start of a three-day weekend to make sure the patient had started back on therapy and was doing well.

These are just three of the hundreds of stories that show how the Accredo PAH TRC cares for our patients.

comments powered by Disqus