Adherence Arena: 30 Rock A cautionary tale








What we can learn about adherence from
the 30 Rock television sitcom

In
2010, two actors from the popular 30 Rock
television series underwent kidney transplantation.

Both
transplants were a direct result of medication non-adherence.

Tracy
Morgan had a 15-year history of diabetes prior to undergoing his transplant but
"didn't take the disease seriously" and was not compliant with his medication
until a physician warned him, "We may have to take your foot."

Grizzwald
"Grizz" Chapman had a 13-year history of hypertension prior to his transplant.

He
admitted to Dr. Mehmet Oz, "I didn't take the blood pressure medicine, because
listening to my friends, my friends told me, You know, if you start taking the
medicines, you'll be on the medicine for the rest of your life.'"

He
went without medication for a decade.

Morgan
and Chapman's non-adherence also puts them at greater risk of heart attack, stroke,
and other complications.

Unchecked
diabetes and hypertension damage the inner layer of the arteries and can affect
nearly every organ.

What
is so tragic here (not to mention expensive) is that these transplants, I'm
sure, were entirely preventable.

So
I'm thrilled that pharmaceutical companies are looking to strengthen and broaden
their adherence efforts.

And
I would urge them not to worry about appearing too "self-serving" in their
efforts to coax patients to stick with their medications for diabetes,
hypertension, and other chronic diseases.

Because
yes, greater adherence means a stronger bottom line, but it also means that
fewer people will need to part with critical organs. It's a win-win.

Katrina
S. Firlik, MD, is co-founder and chief medical officer of HealthPrize
Technologies, LLC (http://www.healthprize.com/). Prior to HealthPrize, she was a practicing
neurosurgeon in Connecticut. She is also the author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the
Inside
.


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