Rx Minute: A New Treatment Approach to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Shows Promise

A New Treatment Approach to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Shows Promise

A new medicine in development for the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma has been shown to shrink tumors in 75% of patients. Patients who were considered to have responded either had their tumor disappear or reduce in volume by 50%. The median response time was more than 6 months.

The drug uses a new approach that aims to improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment while also reducing the associated side effects. This type of drug is called an antibody conjugate and it consists of a cancer-targeting monoclonal antibody attached to a cancer-killing drug. The two parts are linked with a new technology that allows them only to be separated and activated inside the cancer cell. Because the antibody specifically targets cells that express the protein CD30, which is associated with these cancer cells, most other cells in the body can be spared.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company CEO Clay Siegall said, "Few agents have demonstrated this level of clinical response…. We are particularly encouraged by these results given that all patients had failed multiple lines of therapy."

Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Increased Liklihood of Heart Failure Patients Taking Medicines

A recent University of Pittsburgh study found that Medicare Part D drug benefit implementation was associated with increased use of and adherence to heart failure medicines among older adults.[xi] The study compared prescription fill rates for two years before and after the drug benefit began among patients who started with limited coverage (quarterly benefits caps of $150 or $350), no coverage or generous employer-sponsored coverage.

Previously uninsured patients filled about 6 more prescriptions annually for heart failure medicines after enrolling in the program. This represented a relative rate of increase of 36% compared with patients with employer-based drug coverage, whose benefits did not change as a result of Part D. In the two years after enrollment, the previously uninsured were also 77% more likely to receive guideline care and nearly twice as likely to be adherent to therapy than when they lacked drug coverage.

The authors conclude, “Given the impact of improved medication adherence in older adults with heart failure on health care use and costs, this improvement could lead to reductions in health care costs overall for this population.”

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