National survey reveals need for more discussion regarding risks associated with the most common, but often misunderstood, vaginal infection
Healthcare professionals feel current treatments for BV are difficult for patients to adhere to
Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc., the U.S. wholly owned subsidiary of Lupin Limited, dedicated to delivering high-quality medications trusted by healthcare professionals (HCPs) and women across many treatment areas, has partnered with the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH) to conduct a national online survey of 301 HCPs (including OB/GYNs and NP/PAs) who treat women with bacterial vaginosis (BV). Results from the national survey underscore the need for improved patient and HCP communication to educate on BV and the associated risk factors, as well as reasons for the lack of adherence to current therapies and the need for new treatment options for the condition.
BV is the most prevalent gynecologic infection in the U.S. among women ages 14-49 though the condition often goes undiagnosed. If left untreated, BV can increase the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, trichomoniasis and HIV, increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may affect fertility, or can lead to pre-term birth and low birth weight.
According to the national survey:
- Fewer than half of HCPs (48 percent) say that most of their patients know what BV is.
- Most HCPs (88 percent) state that patients often mistake their BV for a yeast infection.
- The majority of HCPs (61 percent) believe that some patients do not discuss all of their BV symptoms.
- Almost all HCPs (94 percent) say that if their patients with BV do not call or schedule a follow-up appointment, they assume all is well.
“BV is the most common gynecologic infection in women of reproductive age and can increase the risk of serious health consequences if left untreated. Due to the serious risks associated with BV, prompt diagnosis and treatment must be a priority,” said Gay Johnson, CEO of NPWH. “These survey results reaffirm the importance of an open dialogue between professionals and patients regarding BV to ensure proper care.”
Results of the survey reveal that approximately one-third (30 percent) of HCPs feel the current available therapies for BV are very difficult to complete. When asked about reasons why patients did not adhere to oral therapies, most common reasons provided by HCPs were that symptoms cleared up, so patients stopped use (80 percent), the patient forgot to take the treatment (56 percent), patient was experiencing side effects (55 percent), or the patient wanted to drink alcohol (54 percent), alluding to current oral treatments which restrict alcohol intake. For those who did not adhere to intravaginal treatments, one of the most common reasons noted by HCPs was that they were too messy to continue (71 percent).
“BV, a common infection among women of childbearing age, is associated with many other conditions that affect one’s health. With only an estimated 50 percent of women taking a full course of treatment, healthcare providers should consider all treatment options when seeing a woman with BV,” said Paul Nyirjesy, MD, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA.