Breaking News
January 22, 2019 - Amgen And UCB Receive Positive Vote From FDA Advisory Committee In Favor Of Approval For Evenity (romosozumab)
January 22, 2019 - Does being bilingual make children more focused? Study says no
January 22, 2019 - Study reveals new genes and biological pathways linked to osteoarthritis
January 22, 2019 - FSU study provides better understanding of spinal cord injuries
January 22, 2019 - Delaying bath for newborn babies increases breastfeeding rates, finds study
January 21, 2019 - Many parents still try non-evidence-based cold prevention methods for children
January 21, 2019 - High Levels of Activity, Motor Ability Linked to Better Cognition
January 21, 2019 - Killer blows? Knockout study of pair of mouse MicroRNA provides cancer insight
January 21, 2019 - Buffalo researchers receive grant to quicken development of generic equivalents of contraceptives
January 21, 2019 - One-third of pregnant women do not believe cannabis is harmful to their fetus
January 21, 2019 - Fiderstat could be used as chemopreventative drug for intestinal cancers caused by APC gene mutations
January 21, 2019 - Modifying healthcare delivery practices may improve discussions between youth and healthcare providers
January 21, 2019 - UNIST researcher named as recipient of Merck’s 2018 Life Science Awards
January 21, 2019 - How Getting a Flu Shot Could Save Your Life
January 21, 2019 - Surgical adhesions can be treated, prevented in mice
January 21, 2019 - Increased physician-targeted marketing associated with higher opioid overdose deaths
January 21, 2019 - Researchers uncover specific microbial signatures of intestinal disease
January 21, 2019 - Simple blood test reliably detects signs of Alzheimer’s damage before symptoms
January 21, 2019 - Study to investigate new targeted oral treatments for severe asthma
January 21, 2019 - Plan Your Plate | NIH News in Health
January 21, 2019 - Fecal occult blood test may improve CRC outcomes in some
January 21, 2019 - Blood test detects Alzheimer’s disease years before symptoms develop
January 21, 2019 - Mount Sinai joins with Paradigm and ReqMed to repurpose drug for treatment of MPS
January 21, 2019 - FDA Advisory Committee Votes on Zynquista (sotagliflozin) as Treatment for Adults with Type 1 Diabetes
January 21, 2019 - The causes and complications of snoring
January 21, 2019 - Placenta adapts and compensates when pregnant mothers have poor diets or low oxygen
January 21, 2019 - New implant could restore the transmission of electrical signals in injured central nervous system
January 21, 2019 - Rapid-acting fentanyl test strips found to be effective at reducing overdose risk
January 21, 2019 - Coronary Artery Calcium May Help Predict CVD in South Asians
January 21, 2019 - The mystery of the super-ager
January 21, 2019 - Scientists develop smart microrobots that can change shape depending on their surroundings
January 21, 2019 - Keep Moving to Keep Brain Sharp in Old Age
January 21, 2019 - Despite progress, gay fathers and their children still structurally stigmatized
January 21, 2019 - New drug for treating liver parasites in vivax malaria
January 21, 2019 - Merck recognized with 2018 Life Science Industry Award for best use of social media
January 21, 2019 - Coeur Wallis equips the canton of Valais with 260 SCHILLER defibrillators
January 21, 2019 - Scientists propose quick and pain-free method for diagnosing kidney cancer
January 21, 2019 - Signs of memory loss could point to hearing issues
January 21, 2019 - HeartFlow Analysis shows highest diagnostic performance for detecting coronary artery disease
January 21, 2019 - How Much Caffeine is Too Much?
January 21, 2019 - Take a timeout before you force your child to apologize
January 21, 2019 - Scientists design two AI algorithms to improve early detection of cognitive impairment
January 21, 2019 - Novel therapy for children with chronic hormone deficiency provides lifeline for parents
January 21, 2019 - Bioethicists call for oversight of poorly regulated, consumer-grade neurotechnology products
January 21, 2019 - Study shows hereditary hemochromatosis behind many cancers and joint diseases
January 21, 2019 - Short bouts of stairclimbing throughout the day can improve cardiovascular health
January 20, 2019 - Liver Transplant Survival May Improve With Race Matching
January 20, 2019 - Study implicates hyperactive immune system in aging brain disorders
January 20, 2019 - Cancer Diagnosis May Quadruple Suicide Risk
January 20, 2019 - Parkinson’s disease experts devise a roadmap
January 20, 2019 - Research brings new hope to treating degenerative brain diseases
January 20, 2019 - Scientists pinpoint a set of molecules that wire the body weight center of the brain
January 20, 2019 - Researchers get close to developing elusive blood test for Alzheimer’s disease
January 20, 2019 - UCLA researchers demonstrate new technique to develop cancer-fighting T cells
January 20, 2019 - Researchers discover how cancer cells avoid genetic meltdown
January 20, 2019 - Exercise makes even the ‘still overweight’ healthier: study
January 20, 2019 - University of Utah to establish first-of-its-kind dark sky studies minor in the US
January 20, 2019 - School-based nutritional programs reduce student obesity
January 20, 2019 - Improved maternity care practices in the southern U.S. reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding
January 20, 2019 - New enzyme biomarker test indicates diseases and bacterial contamination
January 20, 2019 - Republican and Democratic governors have different visions to transform health care, say researchers
January 20, 2019 - Researchers discover that spin flips happen in only half a picosecond in the course of a chemical reaction
January 20, 2019 - Suicide Risk Up More Than Fourfold for Cancer Patients
January 20, 2019 - Doctors find 122 nails in Ethiopian’s stomach
January 20, 2019 - UV disinfection technology eliminates up to 97.7% of pathogens in operating rooms
January 20, 2019 - Researchers discover mechanism which drives leukemia cell growth
January 20, 2019 - AHA: Infection as a Baby Led to Heart Valve Surgery for Teen
January 20, 2019 - Injection improves vision in a form of childhood blindness
January 20, 2019 - Multiple sclerosis therapies delay progression of disability
January 20, 2019 - New study finds infrequent helmet use among bike share riders
January 20, 2019 - Clearing up information about corneal dystrophies
January 20, 2019 - Researchers describe new behavior in energy metabolism that refutes existing evidence
January 20, 2019 - New study takes first step toward treating endometriosis
January 20, 2019 - Researchers find how GREB1 gene promotes resistance to prostate cancer treatments
January 20, 2019 - Replacing Sitting Time With Activity Lowers Mortality Risk
January 20, 2019 - A simple, inexpensive intervention makes birth safer for moms and babies in parts of Africa
January 19, 2019 - New anti-inflammatory compound acts as ‘surge protector’ to reduce cancer growth
January 19, 2019 - Significant flaws found in recently released forensic software
January 19, 2019 - New Leash on Life? Staying Slim Keeps Pooches Happy, Healthy
January 19, 2019 - Men and women remember pain differently
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