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6 posts from September 2014


Medication Adherence/Compliance/Persistence: What is the Difference?

Medication adherence is the degree that patients follow (adhere) the directions provided by a healthcare provider.” Medication adherence is measured as  a percentage of medication the patient consumed, following the proper directions, during a time-period. The prescribed directions taken into consideration in this percentage include the number of doses and the dosing interval.

Medication compliance is a term used in the past that is similar to medication adherence. However, there are a few critical differences. The ISPOR work group believes the word compliance means to follow a command. The authors proposed the definition of compliance to include patient conformity to the prescription written by the prescriber, which is measured by the number of doses taken as written. This shows that the patient and prescriber do not have a mutual agreement, and suggests that it is dictated the prescriber. This may lead to patients not take the medication as prescribed because they feel as though they did not agree to this regimen.

Persistence is another term used by ISPOR when talking about medication adherence. Persistence is used to describe patients who continuously use their medications for the prescribed duration. However, during this time the patient may not be taking the medication as prescribed. There are many reasons that patients may not be taking the medication as prescribed, but they are still persisting to take it.  For example, an article in the New York Times discusses how medications are not being taken properly because of the economic burden. An experiment by a Harvard professor showed more patients with zero-dollar co-pays picked up their medications in a timely manner. To help transition patients from just taking their medication, to correctly taking their medication in accordance to route, dose, frequency, and time, health care professionals need to understand why their patients do not take all their medications as prescribed.

Medication adherence and compliance are almost interchangeable terms – though the term adherence is preferred due to the mutual agreement implied versus compliance.  Persistence is often used, and confused, but is important to realize that a persistent patient still desires to take their medication, but something is preventing him/her from doing so.  Overall medication adherence is an important aspect to optimize patient’s drug therapy and it is very important for health care professionals to understand these terms, so they can help patients adhere to their medication regimen.

Urvi Patel, PharmD ‘16


Physics Prof to Explore Solar System, Cosmology with Philly Youth

YALE-Paul-HalpernPhysics professor Paul Halpern, PhD, visited the Y.A.L.E. School’s Cherry Hill campus for “Read Across America” last spring, where he discussed cosmology and the solar system with students, as well as signed copies of his books.

Well, with the launch of Y.A.L.E. School's Philadelphia campus this year, Dr. Halpern was invited back to serve as the guest presenter for the school's open house on Thursday, Oct. 30, from 7-9 p.m., at its new building located at 4101 Freeland Ave. in Philadelphia.

"Dr. Halpern presented an assembly to the students at the Y.A.L.E. School Cherry Hill campus last year and the kids LOVED it," according to Y.A.L.E.'s website. "It should be a fascinating look at teaching science to kids on the spectrum or with social communication disorder."


OT Students, Faculty Attend AOTA's Hill Day in D.C.

OT students with Wendy Fox (left) and Paula KRamer (right)Sixty students and faculty from the University’s Department of Occupational Therapy joined the more than 550 occupational therapy practitioners and students from across the nation for this year's American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 15.

“We were the only school in Philadelphia to send a contingent, and our students showed tremendous leadership,” said Mickey Cohen, chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy. “This effort highlights the mission of our occupational therapy program, as well as the overall mission of USciences.”

With the help of USciences community, more than 200 legislators learned about the important role of occupational therapy in the healthcare system. At the same time, legislators also received 1,240 emails from occupational therapy practitioners and students who participated in AOTA’s Virtual Hill Day.

“It may seem like your one voice won’t make a difference, but when it’s combined with hundreds of other voices it can influence legislation,” said Heather Parsons, AOTA’s director of legislative advocacy.


DEA Drug Take Back Day - September 27, 2014

Medications – both prescription and non-prescription drugs – are found in most every home in the US.  They treat our colds, maintain our blood pressure  and even help us manage the aches and pains of every-day living. Additionally,  we use personal care products (PCPs) such as vitamins and sunscreens.    However, when these expire or are otherwise no longer useful, they can pose a risk to you and others in your household, so it’s a good idea to dispose of them.   In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers unused or expired medications and personal products as household hazardous waste.   As such, careful consideration should be given to the proper disposal of unused medications and PCPs. 

Unfortunately, unused medications often go straight down the toilet or the sink and PCPs are thrown away in the trash.  The problem with flushing medications down the toilet is that sewage wastewater treatment plants aren’t equipped to filter out drugs; so they wind up in our waterways.   Most drugs enter the system through people and animals ingesting them and then passing them through their urine or feces.  However, flushing medications down the toilet just adds additional burden to our waterways that can and should be avoided.

EPA reports and several US Geological Surveys (USGS) have found medications in waterways and some in aquatic creatures.   In addition, commonly expected substances such as caffeine and the metabolite of nicotine (cotinine), steroids, antiepileptic agents, and hormones have been found many waters.  The good news, at least so far, is that very little is known about the impact these substances have on human health.  But we want to ensure that the medicines will work for us when we need them as well as protect our waterways. 

Do you have excess prescription or non-prescription medications laying around?  Failure to dispose of unused/unwanted medications, particularly controlled substances, presents a significant risk for drug diversion.  Get rid of excess medications at the upcoming DEA Drug Take Back Day, scheduled for September 27, 2014 from 10AM-2PM.  See the website, www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/ for locations near you.

If you can't get there, at least follow these simple directions:

1. Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds;
2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
3. Throw the container in your household trash

For most medicines, DO NOT FLUSH them down the toilet. There are a few you can flush down the toilet - check with your pharmacist to see if yours is one of them.

A good video on the subject - “Trash It! Most Unwanted Medicines Belong in the Trash,” can be found on the Physician’s for Social Responsibility (PSR) website. 

Ladies: Don’t Slack on Your Preventative Health Care, Says USciences Prof

SeptAwarenessAs young women across the United States adapt to their busy college lifestyles, physician assistant studies professor Joan Ward, MS, PA-C, at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, urges them to stay on top of their preventative health screenings.

"Many students assume their young age makes them invincible to diseases and conditions, like cancer,” said Ward, chair of the Department of Physician Studies at USciences. “By staying proactive with your health, you’re more likely to avoid illness and maintain a healthier and enjoyable lifestyle for many years to come.”

In observation of National Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month in September, Ward encourages young women to learn about the preventatives measures, risk factors, and symptoms associated with gynecologic cancers – such as cervical, ovarian, vulvar, and vaginal cancers.

Ward_Joan_250x350According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, and at least half of every sexually active person will acquire HPV at some point in their lives. Strains of this virus are also closely linked with gynecological cancers; thus, highlighting the importance of receiving the HPV vaccination at an early age.

Ward said the following tips can help protect young women from developing serious health conditions down the road: 

  • Visit the doc. Young women ages 21 and older, and those who are sexually active, should adhere to routine visits to a gynecologist office each year for Pap smears. This test is the one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening tests available, according to the CDC.
  • Get vaccinated. HPV vaccines are safe and effective, and administered in three doses over six months. This vaccine is most effective when given at a young age, and helps protect men and women from developing gynecological cancers.
  • Kick the habit. According to the CDC, smoking puts women at a higher risk for developing gynecological cancers.
  • Stay alert. Pay attention to your body, and contact your doctor if you experience any types of symptoms that do not seem right.


PCP Students Explore Pharmaceutical Agency Careers, Thanks to Alumni

PharmdayPharmacy students from University of the Sciences and other U.S. colleges recently learned about the growing career opportunities within the pharmaceutical industry from alumni of Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. That’s because they participated in MediMedia Managed Markets’ Student Day and specifically explored pharmacy careers with pharmaceutical agencies, like MediMedia.

Each year, alumna Michele Reed PharmD, vice president of clinical services at MediMedia, encourages pharmacy students from various programs across the nation to complete their Introduction to Pharmacy Practice Experience, Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience, and summer internships at MediMedia

As advocates of pharmaceutical agencies, the medical services team at MediMedia hosted a student event to introduce prospective pharmacy candidates to the numerous opportunities within pharmaceutical agencies. Students were exposed to the differences between a pharmaceutical industry and agency, the specific role of MediMedia in the industry, sample projects by various team members, and they even participated in an interactive MediMedia activity. Not only were the students able to learn more about this niche market, but they were able to spend a couple hours in the shoes of the medical team. The event was followed by a networking session where students were able to inquire more about the specific responsibilities and unique career path each team member has experienced.

“As a recent PCP graduate myself, I want to make sure PCP students are exposed to the various opportunities available to pharmacists before they choose their career path,” said Kunj Gohil PharmD’13, RPh, a post-doctoral fellow at MediMedia. “We hope students can use what they learned during our event and become successful professionals within the pharmaceutical industry.”

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