Some Drugs are Easier to Stick with Than Others

CML patients more likely to adhere to dasatinib than nilotinib

(RxWiki News) So you have to take a pill every day. It's saving your life, but doing anything every single day for the rest of your life is daunting. Recent research looked at which medications leukemia patients take more faithfully.

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) usually requires a daily oral medication. This one-a-day regimen starts to slack off after a while, previous research has shown.  A new study examined adherence patterns and found that patients are more likely to be vigilant with one medication - Sprycel (dasatinib) than Tasigna (nilotinib).

"Take your medications exactly as prescribed to get the most benefit."

Sprycel and Tasigna have not been on the market as long as the most frequently prescribed first-line medication Gleevec (imatinib).

When Gleevec no longer works or can't be tolerated for whatever reason, patients will often be switched to these second-line therapies - Sprycel and Tasigna.

Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health and colleagues used the HealthCore Integrated Research Database to examine the records of 2064 CML patients who had been exposed to Gleevec between January 1, 2001 and June 30, 2010. Of this pool, 197 received Sprycel and 53 took Tasigna as second-line therapies.

Investigators calculated adherence with what's known as a medication possession ratio (MPR) - current prescription number of days supply divided by total days between current and next prescription.

The study found that patients took Sprycel longer (276 days) than Tasigna (170 days),

The adherence trends were quantified and adjusted for age, sex, duration of previous Gleevec exposure, number of medications being taken at the same time and presence of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

Additional studies are planned to look at factors that impact adherence.

This study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Review Date: 
November 10, 2011