Addressing the need for medication that is easy to take
Swallowing difficulties can lead to medication non-adherence
Taking medications orally, in the formulations that are currently marketed, works well for many people. However, liquids, tablets, and capsules can pose administration and/or swallowing challenges for patients. An online survey conducted in the United States found that 50% of surveyed American adults (N = 1002) reported difficulty swallowing tablets and capsules.1 Another survey (N=679) found that less than 25% of adults in the US with swallowing difficulties discuss the problem with their healthcare provider. That same online survey found that 8% of adults with swallowing difficulties admit to skipping doses of a prescribed medication (N=679).2 Difficulty swallowing tablets and capsules can be a problem for many individuals and can lead to patient non-compliance with the recommended treatment regimens.
Additionally, an estimated 16.5 million people in the US suffer from dysphagia, a clinically diagnosed swallowing difficulty.3 Dysphagia increases with age and can represent a significant challenge as it relates to the routine administration of chronic oral medications.
Swallowing difficulties can affect drug adherence and result in increased morbidity and mortality.4 Tablets and capsules can be difficult to take and challenging for HCPs and caregivers to administer. Additionally, liquid formulations can be difficult to carry, may require precise measurement, can be spilled, and may have taste issues and/or refrigeration requirements.
A Compatible Treatment Approach
To overcome medication avoidance, the treatment must be individualized, taking patient preferences and lifestyle into account. Patients understand the consequences of missed doses, yet a high incidence of medication non-adherence persists. So while patient education is an important step that can’t be overlooked, HCPs are heavily considering dosage form characteristics when assessing the needs of individualized patients.
Prevalence of dysphagia in certain therapeutic areas
In a retrospective descriptive study using MarketScan® Commercial Claims and Medicare Supplemental databases from July 2010-June 2015, real world payer data was analyzed to assess the related conditions of patients with clinical dysphagia. This observational study of a large, payer database found in the overall study population with clinically diagnosed dysphagia, there was a high rate of chronic pulmonary disease, cardiac arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, diabetes, neurological disorders, depression, psychoses and others.5 Data suggests there is a need for easy-to-take dosage forms within several therapeutic areas. Contact us to learn more about this study.
References:1. OTC Company News. Hermes highlights need for better formats. http://www.hermes-pharma.com/fileadmin/data/download/Hermes_highlights_need_for_better_formats_OTCBulletin_250714.pdf. Published July 2014. Accessed May 8, 2017.
2. 40% of American adults report experiencing difficulty swallowing pills [press release]. New York, NY: PR Newswire; January 15, 2004.
3. Robbins et al. Dysphagia research in the 21st century and beyond: Proceedings from the Dysphagia experts meeting, Aug 21, 2001. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2002;39(4):543-548.
4. Carnaby-Mann G, Crary M. Pill swallowing by adults with dysphagia. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005;131(11):970-5.
5. Data on file at Aprecia Pharmaceuticals Company