Multiple Sclerosis treatments have advanced greatly in the past 25 years. This gives patients more therapy options to combat their disease. With no cure for MS, it is important to treat the disease as early as possible, which slows the advancement of symptoms and irreversible damage. Many of the medications used to treat MS often come with strict protocols. Specialty Pharmacies deliver specialized care, which allows for guidance and education to help patients adhere to a treatment’s protocols. When MS treatment outcomes are compared between specialty pharmacies and community pharmacies, specialty pharmacies produce more effective treatment outcomes and fewer relapses.
Why You Should Choose a Specialty Pharmacy
Specialty pharmacies have the reputation for being more “hands-on” with their patients, developing relationships that go beyond just providing a refill. MS therapy medications require special instructions and treatment plans that need to be developed with a patient’s physician. Specialty pharmacies provide an opportunity for guidance and education to create a more confident and informed patient. When patients receive all medical directions at once, they are less likely to follow strict protocols. Spreading out instructions and assistance over time, allow patients to retain information with ease and use the treatment correctly. Therefore, the relationship between patient and pharmacist has become an important piece of the puzzle.
Another key ingredient for success is ensuring patients receive treatments without interruption, which has shown to decrease relapses and side effects. Unlike community pharmacies, who refill prescriptions that might sit uncollected for days, Specialty Pharmacies often serve patients needing time-sensitive therapies. Some MS treatment medications classify as “Limited Distribution Drugs.” These are difficult to manage and have very strict protocols to meet. LDD’s are typically unavailable to the average community pharmacy because of control and oversite needs. But, Specialty Pharmacies manage LLD’s because of their ability to cultivate closer relationships between patients, prescribers, and pharmacists.
Multiple Sclerosis Patients Benefitting from Specialty Pharmacies
A 3-year study followed MS patients with pharmacy claims at both community pharmacies and Specialty Pharmacies. The study compared the risk of relapse for patients and the number of relapses experienced at the different pharmacy groups. The conclusion: “These results show that specialty pharmacy care is associated with a significantly lower risk for disease relapse in patients with MS (specifically the first relapse) and fewer relapses compared with usual community pharmacy care.”
Studies like this continue to emerge and illustrate how Specialty Pharmacies are improving communities, one patient at a time.
March is National MS Education and Awareness Month. This is an opportunity to bring attention to new research and ways of treating the disease. Nearly 1 million Americans are living with MS. Each step gives patients a more normal life which is a move in the right direction. Specialty Pharmacies are playing an important role to ensure their patients move towards that normalcy.
Get in touch with PFSP Specialty Pharmacy today to learn more about our comprehensive approach to patient care and how we can serve you.