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Latest news and updates about the Medicare and pharmacy industries.

Overcoming Side Effects to Improve Healthcare Outcomes

Posted on April 14, 2021 by Amplicare Team

In the U.S., nearly 70% of people take at least one prescription medication and more than 50% take at least two, according to the Mayo Clinic. But studies show that two-thirds of Americans are non-adherent and don’t take their medications as prescribed. Whether non-adherence looks like stopping medication prematurely or changing dosage without consulting the prescriber, one reason for this behavior is side effects. 

Many common medications are known to deplete the body of essential nutrients. The loss of these nutrients often leads to negative side effects that could cause patients to stop taking their medications as prescribed. In these cases, providing a supplement helps counter the depletion and makes the patient more likely to remain adherent. For example, if a patient taking a statin is experiencing muscle pain and weakness or fatigue, adding a CoQ10 enzyme would help reduce those negative side effects.

For pharmacies, there is an additional benefit to offering nutrient supplements. Since these supplements are available over the counter (OTC), they can serve as an alternate revenue source unaffected by changing reimbursements and DIR fees. 

Addressing Nutrient Depletion

When side effects are a factor, the right technology can help pharmacies proactively address nutrient depletion before a patient becomes non-adherent or to get them back on track. Amplicare’s software identifies patients on medications known to induce depletions and suggests possible supplements that would help counterbalance common side effects. Once a pharmacist knows who may be at risk of becoming non-adherent, it’s easier to plan outreach so that patients understand the value of adding a supplement to their regimen. Pharmacies using Amplicare also have access to a printable educational handout and can schedule calls or texts informing patients of their options and inviting them for an in-person consultation.

Another benefit of using Amplicare: pharmacies whose pharmacy management systems are compatible with Assist are also able to receive patient intervention notifications directly in workflow so they can easily act on these opportunities at the point of care.

Tackling the Cost Factor

In some cases, however, pharmacists may find that patients face another significant barrier to adding supplements to their medication regimen: cost. A recent poll found that 44% of participants said they did not buy at least one medically necessary prescription because of cost. Since supplements are OTC, they are not always covered by Original Medicare and Part D plans and some patients may find the additional cost challenging. One possible solution to offer is the use of a discount or cash card service at the pharmacy.

Increasingly, Medicare Advantage plans are offering pre-paid OTC cards as a benefit for members. Monthly allowances typically differ depending on the plan a patient is enrolled in as does the variety of products that qualify. Regardless, the benefit enables members to purchase OTC products, including non-prescription medications, typically not covered by insurance. Using these cards helps lower the overall out-of-pocket cost a patient pays for their health and encourages them to make decisions that benefit their health without having to worry about costs.

To help patients say adherent, addressing the root barriers is essential. And while some factors may be beyond the pharmacist’s control, others are within their ability to influence. To learn more about the most common nutrients and when to offer OTC supplements, download a free copy of our Clinical Supplements Guide below.

Download the Clinical Supplements Guide

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