In combating Hepatitis C infection, matching patients with the optimal and most effective drug regimens is key, says Pavel Lavitas, PharmD, BCPS, of UMass Medical School.
But ensuring the right patients are teamed up with the right drugs requires careful and extensive use of data by an experienced team of pharmacists, notes Lavitas, a member of the Clinical Pharmacy Services team.
UMass Medical School, which partners with state Medicaid programs and health care organizations, has worked with infectious disease physicians to develop “comprehensive, evidence-based clinical guidelines,” Lavitas says.
The medical school’s pharmacy team relies on the guidelines when reviewing prescriptions for patients, also known as prior authorization.
A key part of the medication management program designed by the medical school, this approach enables pharmacists to work with prescribers to ensure patients have the most clinically appropriate medication regimens.
“Whenever clinically appropriate, our clinical pharmacist will contact a prescriber and discuss the use of an optimized regimen,” Lavitas notes.
The medical school has developed “a comprehensive tracking log,” that captures key data needed to make the best possible decisions when it comes to prescribing Hepatitis C drugs.
The data includes member and prescriber demographics, disease specific parameters, such as the Hepatitis C virus genotype, the member’s prior treatment history and liver fibrosis stage.
“All of those factors play a role in selecting an optimized regime,” Lavitas says.
For one Medicaid client, the pharmacy team has worked with prescribers to switch more than 200 patients to new Hepatitis C drug regimens.
“All the members who have been switched have been confirmed to have a biological cure, which is what they were looking for,” Lavitas says.