AARDA creates new multi-media public service campaign for AD patients

In response to a recent study that found roughly one-third of prescriptions for autoimmune disease (AD) patients go unfilled and a high level of physician mistrust exists among AD patients, the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. (AARDA) has created a new multi-media public service campaign with tools designed to help patients make informed decisions about newly-prescribed therapies and treatments.

"The 3-Second Adherence" campaign includes three key components. The first is a free patient brochure with an innovative, newly-developed prescription "Decision-Making Tree" that helps guide patients through the risk/benefit evaluation process.

The second is a physician handbook with advice about how to get patients to comply or "adhere" to their course of treatment.

The third component, designed for both doctors and patients, is an online video which demonstrates how when doctors take an extra 3-seconds to explain to patients why specific medicines are being prescribed for them, patient adherence increases dramatically.

Some 50 million Americans live and cope with ADs, 75 percent of whom are women. AD is one of the top 10 leading causes of death of women under the age of 65. It encompasses more than 100 diseases, including psoriasis, Graves' disease, Sjogren's syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and lupus. It is responsible for more than $100 billion in direct health care costs annually.

"Most autoimmune diseases are chronic and managing them on a day-to-day basis can be overwhelming, especially when patients have multiple diseases, which is often the case with ADs," said AARDA Executive Director, Virginia T. Ladd, explaining that the study found that 30 percent of prescriptions are never filled and only 35 percent of newly-diagnosed patients rely solely on their physician's advice when it comes to taking medication.

Non-Adherence Factors
According to AARDA, there are a number of reasons why prescription non-adherence is particularly high among AD patients. AARDA-conducted studies reveal a lack of trust in prescribing physicians, very likely fostered by the fact that the average AD patient may see more than four doctors in as many years before receiving a correct diagnosis. Also, more than 40 percent of AD patient report they have been told they were "too concerned about their health" or that they were hypochondriacs.

Another contributor to non-adherence is the "Fear Factor" which can be dispelled if and when the physician takes the extra few seconds to explain to the patient precisely why the medication is being prescribed. The videos, for example, demonstrate it is far more effective when a doctor says, "Here is a prescription for your rheumatoid arthritis. We are trying to prevent crippling and disability of your joints," than when he/she says, "Here's your prescription. See you in a month."

Ladd added, "For the first time in generations, autoimmune disease patients are gaining access to new therapies. While many of these therapies may offer substantial benefit, they may also pose real risks. AARDA's new tools will help patients weigh the risk/benefit of using these new therapies."

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