Two weeks ago we finally started in Venezuela the “Compliance Program”. It is a pilot project for patients who are having problems with adherence to Glivec or Tasigna treatment and newly CML diagnosed patients.
Talking to the patients in regards to the causes of their problems with adherence has been very interesting. Some of the causes I have found are:
a) Secondary effects: Some patients don’t like to take their drug afraid to suffer the secondary effects like: nauseas and diarrea. They report that they don’t take Glivec or Tasigna when they travel or are far from home because these secondary effects affect them in a bad way.
Some patients don’t take their drug when they feel bad i.e., have a headache or stomachache to avoid feeling worse.
I am working with the patients in finding a way to solve this issue. In some cases the physician prescribes a drug to avoide diarrea and nauseas, in other cases when the trip of the patient is for just one day they can take their drug at night once they are save at home.
b) Emotional reasons: Some patients don’t take the drug during an important moment of their lives, this moment can be great (vacations, holidays) or bad (separation of a loved one, problems with the family, problems at work).
I am working with this patients to help them understanding the strong consecuences of not taking the drug in a correct way, the strongest one is their possible death.
It is very important for me to help the patient questioning if they want to live or not, what are the most important reasons in their life to continue living? (sons, family, goals). Once the patient understands that they want to live they realize that taking the drug is a great way to continue living.
One of the patients of the program (25 years old) told me “I have been taking Glivec for 6 years, in this last year I am tired of following my treatment, I want to live my life as a normal person, I want to have children, to get married…”
So, during our conversation the patient realized that “having children and getting married mean living longer” and understanding that not following the treatment correctly is very dangerous for her projects.. she said “I prefer to get up early, to take my drug on holidays and special moments because I want to have a future”
Lack of support: Some patients don’t have a person who reminds them to take the drug, maybe because nobody knows about their illness, maybe because the family or friends don’t really understand the importance of the treatment.
In these cases we, as Max Stations, are the main support of the patients. We need to help the patient to get involved in their own treatment, to take the reaponsibility of themselves. We also can work with the caregiver or the family to give them information, education and let them know the benefits of the treatment for the life of their loved one.
Every person is different and has “own reasons” of non compliance, this is the most important point of our program, the difference we make with other similar programs… We are able to work with them case by case, understanding the individual situation and difficulties.
I hope this program can reach more and more patients in Venezuela and the world.