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The care continuum in acromegaly: how patients, nurses, and physicians can collaborate for successful treatment experiences

Authors Plunkett C, Barkan A

Received 18 March 2015

Accepted for publication 29 May 2015

Published 30 July 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 1093—1099

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S84887

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen


Cynthia Plunkett, Ariel L Barkan

Division of Endocrinology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Abstract: Patients with acromegaly (a condition of chronic growth hormone hypersecretion by a pituitary adenoma) often require pharmacological treatment. Somatostatin analogs (SSAs) such as pasireotide, lanreotide, and octreotide are frequently used as first-line medical therapy. As SSAs are delivered by regular subcutaneous or intramuscular injections, they can result in injection-related pain or anxiety and can be challenging to fit into patients’ lifestyles. When combined with the prolonged, debilitating psychological complications associated with acromegaly, these administration challenges can negatively impact compliance, adherence, and quality of life. Proactively managing patients’ expectations and providing appropriate, timely guidance are crucial for maximizing adherence, and ultimately, optimizing the treatment experience. As part of ongoing clinical research since 1997, our team at the University of Michigan has used SSAs to treat 30 patients with acromegaly. Based on our clinical experiences with multiple SSA administration regimens (long-acting intramuscular, long-acting deep subcutaneous, and twice-daily subcutaneous), we generated a dialog map that guides health care professionals through the many sensitive and complex patient communication issues surrounding this treatment process. Beginning with diagnosis, the dialog map includes discussion of treatment options, instruction on proper drug administration technique, and ensuring of appropriate follow-up care. At each step, we provide talking points that address the following: the patients’ clinical situation; their geographic, economic, and psychological concerns; and their inclination to communicate with clinicians. We have found that involving patients, nurses, and physicians as equal partners in the treatment process optimizes treatment initiation, adherence, and persistence in acromegaly. By encouraging collaboration across the care continuum, this dialog map can facilitate identification of the treatment plan that is most likely to yield the best possible outcome.

Keywords: somatostatin analogs, pasireotide, octreotide, lanreotide, adherence

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