Breaking News
January 24, 2019 - Mice transmit brain benefits of enriched upbringing to non-enriched offspring
January 24, 2019 - FDA authorizes marketing of new test to aid in the diagnosis of M. gen. infections
January 24, 2019 - Health Tip: Simple CPR – Drugs.com MedNews
January 24, 2019 - Diabetes in America, 3rd Edition
January 24, 2019 - Bangladesh ‘Tree Man’ returns to hospital as condition worsens
January 24, 2019 - Costs of gun-related hospitalizations, readmissions examined in study
January 24, 2019 - Good health literacy linked to better adherence to blood pressure medications among Hispanics
January 24, 2019 - Only a minority of patients in the U.S. with type 1 diabetes achieve treatment goals
January 24, 2019 - High fat reduces efficiency of the immune system to fight infectious disease
January 24, 2019 - FDA grants clearance to Hologic’s assay for detection of common sexually transmitted infections
January 24, 2019 - Study highlights need for reliable therapeutic targets for prevention, treatment of cardiovascular diseases
January 24, 2019 - Next step toward replacement therapy in type 1 diabetes
January 24, 2019 - “Scientific serendipity” identifies link between type of RNA and autism
January 24, 2019 - Trump Zeroes In On Surprise Medical Bills In White House Chat With Patients, Experts
January 24, 2019 - Unique form of chronic sinusitis found in older patients
January 24, 2019 - NUS researchers make muscle recovery easier for patients with ingenious medical device
January 24, 2019 - Specific cognitive deficits found in individuals with spinal cord injury
January 24, 2019 - An essential reference for diagnostic ultrasonography and biopsy of the thyroid gland
January 24, 2019 - Proteus Digital Health Launches Digital Oncology Medicines to Improve Patient Outcomes
January 24, 2019 - Study looking to prevent type 1 diabetes follows children into adolescence
January 24, 2019 - Nice doctors make a difference
January 23, 2019 - Blood vessel discovery could advance our knowledge of osteoporosis
January 23, 2019 - New esophageal cancer test uses genetic biomarkers to detect changes in esophagal cells
January 23, 2019 - Study evaluates first-ever Robotic Visualization System for neurosurgery
January 23, 2019 - Scientists reveal new mechanism that could lead to specific treatment of strokes and seizures
January 23, 2019 - Both educational level and occupational orientation predict mother’s smoking during pregnancy
January 23, 2019 - How to (gently) get your child to brush their teeth
January 23, 2019 - Short-term hospital readmissions for gun injuries cost $86 million a year | News Center
January 23, 2019 - New certified reference material for testing residual solvents in cannabis
January 23, 2019 - Gene-edited chickens could prevent future flu pandemic
January 23, 2019 - Cardiovascular disease risk begins even before birth
January 23, 2019 - Younger patients receiving kidney transplant more likely to live longer, shows data
January 23, 2019 - Skin samples hold early signs of prion disease, research suggests
January 23, 2019 - Researchers discover how body initiates repair mechanisms that limits damage to myelin sheath
January 23, 2019 - Fecal transplant from certain donors better than others
January 23, 2019 - Risk for Uninsurance in AMI Patients Reduced With Medicaid Expansion
January 23, 2019 - Readmissions reduction program may be associated with increase in patient-level mortality
January 23, 2019 - Fostering translation and communication in medicine and beyond
January 23, 2019 - To Fight Fatty Liver, Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks
January 23, 2019 - TPU scientists develop new implants that double the rate of bone lengthening in kids
January 23, 2019 - New sessions at Pittcon 2019
January 23, 2019 - Insilico to present latest findings in AI for Drug Discovery at 3rd Annual SABPA FTD Forum
January 23, 2019 - Opioid overdose patients can be safely discharged an hour after administration of naloxone
January 23, 2019 - Scientists find bacterial extracellular vesicles in human blood
January 23, 2019 - Researchers use modified type of flu virus to develop new therapies for prostate cancer
January 23, 2019 - Researchers gain new insights into development of necrotizing enterocolitis in preemies
January 23, 2019 - Medical expert advises people with epilepsy not to stockpile medicines
January 23, 2019 - CDC study explores link between smoking and clinical outcomes of assisted reproductive technology
January 23, 2019 - Study outlines research priorities for improving pediatric patient care and safety
January 23, 2019 - Bedfont to exhibit NObreath FeNO monitor at Arab Health 2019
January 23, 2019 - Nicotinamide riboside supplementation confers significant physiological benefits to mothers and offspring
January 23, 2019 - Increasing temperatures may help preserve crop nutrition
January 23, 2019 - Many Oncologists in the Dark About LGBTQ Health Needs
January 23, 2019 - Epigenetic change causes fruit fly babies to inherit diet-induced heart disease
January 23, 2019 - Erasing memories could reduce relapse rates among drug addicts
January 23, 2019 - African Americans who smoke cigarettes are more likely to develop peripheral artery disease
January 23, 2019 - Unique data combination helps FinnGen researchers to fund links between genetic factors and health
January 23, 2019 - Parents’ mental health problems associated with reactive attachment disorder in children
January 23, 2019 - Graphene Flagship project studies impact of graphene and related materials on our health
January 23, 2019 - The connection between the Pope and contraceptive pills
January 23, 2019 - Prior dengue infection could protect children from symptomatic Zika
January 23, 2019 - Previous dengue virus infection associated with protection from symptomatic Zika
January 23, 2019 - VISTA checkpoint implicated in pancreatic cancer immunotherapy resistance
January 23, 2019 - The Tiny Camera That Could Revolutionize Cardiovascular Surgery
January 23, 2019 - Peptide isolated from soil fungi has antitumor and antibacterial properties
January 23, 2019 - TGen identifies polio-like virus as potential cause of Acute Flaccid Myelitis outbreak
January 23, 2019 - Migrants and refugees do not bring disease and are at greater health risk themselves says WHO
January 23, 2019 - Examing the effects of menopause in workplace
January 23, 2019 - Enemy number 1 – Air pollution and climate change top of WHO agenda
January 23, 2019 - Two Positive Phase III studies of Tafenoquine for the Radical Cure of Plasmodium vivax Malaria Published in The New England Journal of Medicine
January 23, 2019 - World Trade Center responders at increased risk for head and neck cancers
January 23, 2019 - Low-sugar diet leads to significant improvement in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in boys
January 23, 2019 - Chaos in bodily regulation can optimize our immune system, finds study
January 23, 2019 - Short, text-based exercises can increase happiness for adults recovering from substance use disorders
January 23, 2019 - Body size may have greater influence on women’s lifespan than men
January 23, 2019 - Groundbreaking tool helps visualize neuronal activity with near-infrared light
January 23, 2019 - Prior dengue immunity in children may be protective against symptomatic Zika
January 23, 2019 - Holocaust survivors with PTSD and their offspring exhibit more unhealthy behavior patterns
January 23, 2019 - Scientists discover new genetic mutations causing inherited deaf-blindness
January 23, 2019 - UC team designs new naloxone-dispensing smart device
Drug test spurs frank talk between hypertension patients and doctors

Drug test spurs frank talk between hypertension patients and doctors

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

“It’s not that you don’t want to take it, because you know it’s going to help you. But it’s the getting used to it,” said Sharon Fulson, a customer service representative from Nashville, Tenn., who is trying to monitor and control her hypertension.

The daily pills Fulson started taking last year make her feel groggy and nervous. Other people on the drugs report dizziness, nausea and diarrhea, and men, in particular, can have trouble with arousal.

“All of these side effects are worse than the high blood pressure,” Fulson said.

Research shows roughly half of patients don’t take their high blood pressure medicine as they should, even though heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. For many unfortunate people, their first symptom of high blood pressure is a catastrophic cardiac event. That’s why hypertension is called the “silent killer.”

A drug test is now available that can flag whether a patient is actually taking the prescribed medication. The screening, which requires a urine sample, is meant to spark a more truthful conversation between patient and doctor.

Fulson’s blood pressure has been a moving target, she said. She regularly checks it at home, but it sometimes registers as a little high. Even having it taken in a doctor’s office can add enough stress to elevate the results.

This is why taking patients’ pressure — the familiar cuff test — doesn’t confirm for cardiologists whether patients are consistently taking their hypertension meds. The new drug test, dubbed KardiAssure, uses computers to analyze urine to search for 80 kinds of blood pressure and cholesterol medication, reporting the results in just three minutes.

The test can determine only whether a patient has taken pills in the past day or two. But Aegis Sciences Corp.’s CEO Frank Basile said that’s a starting point.

“What we give doctors is a tool that enables them to have a very focused conversation with their patients,” he said. Only after the problem is out in the open, he said, can doctors get to the reasons behind it.

The conversation starter has been effective for cardiologist Bryan Doherty in Dickson, Tenn., who has been working with Aegis to test the test. In one case, when the results showed a patient wasn’t regularly taking his medicine, though he’d claimed he was, he quickly confessed.

“He immediately turned around and told me that the cost was an issue,” Doherty said. “I think there was a degree of embarrassment there, potentially, or a feeling of letting me down in some way — something that had not come up in a 25-minute initial encounter when we had spoken before.”

Of course, the test has a cost, too — about $100 — though Doherty noted that insurance, including Medicare, has been covering it.

The conversation is important, Doherty said, because he can try less expensive prescriptions if cost is the issue, or experiment with different kinds of drugs if side effects are the problem. It’s worth the potentially uncomfortable encounter with the patient, he said, since the medication might make the difference between life and death.

The screening could also help a patient avoid other unnecessary tests or additional prescriptions, said Dr. Thomas Johnston. He runs the hypertension clinic at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville and is board president of the local chapter of the American Heart Association.

Other than calling the pharmacy to make sure people are refilling their prescription, he said, he generally takes their word for it.

“I think there are a lot of times where you’re questioning in your mind whether someone has taken their medicine or not,” he said. “I think it would be good for the patient, too, for the doctor to know that they’re not taking their medicine so that we may not go down the wrong pathway.”

Johnston, who is not affiliated with Aegis, said his only concern about using a drug test would be running the risk of setting up an adversarial relationship with a patient. But there’s a way around that, too, he said, by making them understand how vital it is to take the drug properly.

Sarah Avery of Nashville said she’s fully aware of the consequences.

“My daddy died because he didn’t take his medicine,” she said.

Hypertension runs in her family. Her mom and grandmother also battled high blood pressure. Still, the medication is such a drag, she said, that she’s decided at times to stop without consulting her doctor.

“I lied. Really, I lied,” she admitted. “He said, ‘Are you taking your medicine?’ I said, ‘Mmhmmm. Yeah, my momma makes sure that I do.’ I was just lying,” she said.

That is, until she, too, had a stroke. Now, she has three blood pressure medications and said she takes them without fail.

This story is part of a partnership that includes WLPN, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

This story also ran on NPR. This story can be republished for free (details).

Blake Farmer, Nashville Public Radio: [email protected], @flakebarmer

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles