By Donovan Quill, President and CEO, Optime Care
The recent availability of Humatin™ (paromomycin sulfate)for patients with acute and chronic intestinal amebiasis and as an adjunctive therapy for management of hepatic coma will require optimized drug therapy.
For the benefit of patients and payers, a patient-first drug management program designed specifically for Humatin can ensure care continuity across the entire patient journey, yield rich data that clinicians can use to make more informed decisions and improve the overall patient experience.
Drug management partners bring specialty drug expertise to this patient population and in-depth understanding of this particular disease. For instance, Humatin capsules should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible bacteria. Knowing this can reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of Humatin and other antibacterial drugs.
As part of a Humantin care program, drug management partners serve as coordinators who work with insurance companies to verify coverage and reimbursement benefits, provide access to financial assistance and arrange drug delivery for the patient.
What is Intestinal Amebiasis?
Intestinal amebiasis is a parasitic infection of the intestines caused by a protozoan E. histolytica that can affect anyone, although it is more common in people who live in or who have traveled to tropical areas with poor sanitary conditions. People become infected by ingesting contaminated food or water, or cysts (eggs) through contact with fecal matter of a person infected with the protozoan.
Amoebiasis is present all over the world. Each year, about 40,000 to 110,000 people die from amoebiasis infection. E. histolytica is classified as a category B biodefense organism because of its environmental stability, ease of dissemination, resistance to chlorine and its ability to easily spread through contaminated food products. Besides the GI tract, E. histolytica can affect many organ systems. E. histolytica is viable for prolonged periods in the cystic form in the environment.
Travelers to developing countries can acquire amebiasis when visiting the endemic region, while those who are institutionalized or immunocompromised are also at risk. Despite the global public health burden, there are no vaccines or prophylactic medications to prevent amebiasis.
Of those infected, approximately10-20% become sick. Symptoms include loose stool, stomach pain and abdominal cramping, which usually develop within 2-4 weeks and are generally mild.
High Level Support for Specialty Patients
The most effective patient-first drug management partner will offer dedicated clinical teams who are able to seamlessly eliminate treatment gaps for the patient. They address all variables around collecting data, while maintaining frequent communication with patients with intestinal amebiasis and their families to ensure compliance and positive outcomes.
A patient-first care team, including care coordinators, pharmacists, nurses and other specialists, focuses on the disease state, patient community and therapy. This is critical for transcending the limitations of the standard specialty pharmacy and hub service provider, which too often rely on technology solutions that fail to address human needs and variability.
Look for a drug management partner that offers a suite of comprehensive services tailored to maximize the therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of intestinal amebiasis. This approach enables patients to becomemore engaged and take ownership, which leads to a stronger partnership and better patient care.
Customized care coordination with telehealth solutions can also add another layer to a proactive, process-driven program, educating the patient on potential risks. This fosters discussion between the patient and providers that is essential to understanding the patient’s needs, providing focus on the drug’s impact and monitoring overall health. By incorporating assessments and predetermined touch points, the care team is able to stay on top of side effects and capture real world evidence around the therapy, disorder and person’s well-being.
It’s also important to find a drug management partner with dual accreditation from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) for compliance with specialty pharmacy and the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) for specialty pharmacy services. Accreditations reflect a level of commitment to providing quality care and services to specialty patient populations, including those who require Humatin.
Ultimately, when it comes to treating intestinal amebiasis, a care management solution should meet the needs of everyone involved in the patient’s journey for improved patient experience, better outcomes and cost control.