Specialty Pharmacies Help Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Published On: July 11th, 2023Categories: Patients, Services, Specialty

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects joints in the body like those in the hands and feet. This disorder involves the immune system mistakenly attacking the body’s own tissues, including the joints and, in severe cases, internal organs. The inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis leads to painful swelling in the joint linings. Over time, this inflammation can result in bone erosion and joint deformity. Although there is currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, the progression of the disease can be slowed down by medications. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis understand the challenges of managing their chronic autoimmune disease. The pain, inflammation, and mobility issues can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Specialty pharmacies with expertise in rheumatoid arthritis and other complex conditions provide personalized support for patients. They help navigate insurance requirements, offer affordable medication access programs, provide injection training, and consult on side effect management and medication adherence. With the guidance of a specialty pharmacy, you have a knowledgeable team to help make the journey more manageable and improve health outcomes. 

Specialty Medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis Management

To manage RA, specialty medications called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or DMARDs are often prescribed. These medications work to slow the progression of joint damage from RA. Patients need to work closely with the prescribing physician and specialty pharmacy to find the right medication or combination of drugs to control symptoms with as few side effects as possible. With the right treatment plan, significant improvements in pain, swelling, and range of motion are possible.

Improving Medication Adherence Through Education and Counseling

To properly manage rheumatoid arthritis, education and counseling are key. Patients need to understand their condition and treatment plan to achieve the best outcomes. Specialty pharmacies provide comprehensive education and counseling for those with rheumatoid arthritis. Patients learn about the disease itself – what causes inflammation, how it progresses, and possible complications to watch for. They also receive in-depth information on their specific medications, including:

  • Mechanism of action – how the drugs work to reduce inflammation and ease symptoms.
  • Proper usage and administration. For injectables, patients and caregivers are taught injection techniques and schedules to follow.
  • Potential side effects and adverse reactions to be aware of. Patients know what is normal and when to contact their pharmacist or physician.
  • Importance of medication adherence and persistence. Patients discover how closely following the prescribed treatment plan can help avoid disease progression and long-term joint damage.
  • Lifestyle adjustments and self-management techniques. How exercise, diet, stress relief and joint protection may help manage symptoms.

Health Assessment and Monitoring for RA Patients

Working with a specialty pharmacy like PFSP, patients undergo regular assessments to evaluate their condition, medication effectiveness, and any side effects. With regular health monitoring and the support of your specialty pharmacy care team, you can work together to find the optimal treatment plan for managing your RA and maintaining the best quality of life possible. Staying on top of assessments, being open about your health experiences, and following your team’s recommendations will help keep your condition stable and prevent complications.

Overcoming Barriers to Treatment Access

Specialty pharmacies play an important role in helping patients access treatments for chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 

Cost and Insurance Challenges- The cost of RA treatments can be an obstacle for patients. Specialty pharmacies are adept at helping patients navigate insurance requirements and apply for financial assistance programs offered by drug manufacturers. These programs can cover most or all out-of-pocket costs for patients who meet certain income criteria. 

Limited Distribution Drugs- Some RA treatments are Limited Distribution Drugs, meaning they are only available through select pharmacies that meet special requirements. These restrictions aim to ensure safe handling, storage and dispensing of complex treatments. However, limited distribution can make access difficult for patients, especially those in rural or remote areas. To overcome this barrier, specialty pharmacies provide delivery of treatments directly to patients. They are also experienced in facilitating single-use exceptions and emergency shipments when needed. Home delivery and a dedicated care team help ensure patients never go without their prescribed treatments.

Specialty Training- Some RA therapies require administration by injection. This can be an obstacle for patients who have difficulty self-administering injections. Specialty pharmacies provide injection training for patients and caregivers to help make complex treatments more accessible and help patients stay adherent to prescribed regimens.

Why Choose a Specialty Pharmacy?

As a patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis, choosing a specialty pharmacy for your treatment plan offers several benefits. Specialty pharmacies can ship your complex RA medications directly to your home. This eliminates the need to pick up prescriptions from a retail pharmacy, which can be difficult for those with limited mobility. Specialty pharmacies also offer resources to assist with financial support, medication adherence, and disease education.

Specialty pharmacies provide customized care for patients with complex chronic conditions like RA. Pharmacists and technicians get to know you, your treatment regimen, and individual needs. They can answer questions, provide counseling on proper medication use and storage, and help manage side effects. Specialty pharmacies like PFSP, offer additional services like prescription reminders, refill scheduling, and 24-hour phone access to a pharmacist. Studies show that specialty pharmacies can help improve health outcomes for those with RA and other complex conditions. By focusing specifically on these disease states, pharmacists develop in-depth knowledge about the latest treatments and best practices. They work closely with prescribing physicians to optimize therapy, monitor response and tolerance, and make adjustments as needed to control symptoms and slow disease progression. Specialty pharmacies often negotiate lower prices for high-cost RA drugs, and may offer copay assistance programs to reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients. For those struggling to afford treatment, a specialty pharmacy may make RA medications more accessible.

Specialty pharmacies provide RA patients with customized care, convenient delivery of medications, improved health outcomes, and potential cost savings. By choosing a specialty pharmacy like PFSP, patients gain a team of experts dedicated to improving outcomes and customizing care. While rheumatoid arthritis may be a lifelong condition, specialty pharmacies like PFSP help ensure patients have the tools and support to lead fulfilling lives. For the best management of your RA, consider partnering with a PFSP Specialty Pharmacy.

PFSP Specialty Pharmacy provides patients and their physicians an exceptionally high standard of care with our growing team of specialized pharmacists and staff. Our dedicated team of pharmacists focus on improving adherence for patients and work to find an approach that works best for them. Bringing a fresh take on what a Specialty Pharmacy can and should be, we are committed to the care of our patients. We take pride in being an ethical resource within our community and strive each day to help our patients live enriching and full lives.