Generic aromatase inhibitors improve adherence by 50%

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According to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers at Columbia University Medical Canter in New York, New York, have found that generic aromatase inhibitors improved treatment adherence by 50% in patients undergoing treatment for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

Aromatase inhibitors, such as anastrazole, exemestane, and letrozole, are the most common type of hormone therapy used for the treatment of estrogen receptor-positive localized breast cancer, but until 2010, these drugs were brand-name only and were associated with higher co-payments. A previous study found higher co-payments of aromatase inhibitors decreased adherence.

For this study, researchers identified 5,511 women ages 50 and older with early stage breast cancer who received aromatase inhibitors between 2007 and 2012. Results showed that patients taking a generic drug were 50% more adherent to their regimen and 30% less likely to stop treatment early compared with women taking brand name aromatase inhibitors.

The researchers suggest that cost alone was not the reason for non-adherence, but rather when in combination with adverse effects like joint stiffness. The researchers also recommend that physicians reinforce to their patients the importance of remaining adherent to their treatment regimens.

Generic aromatase inhibitors improve adherence by 50%
Aromatase inhibitors improved treatment adherence by 50% in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

Although oral hormonal therapy is known to substantially reduce breast cancer recurrence in women with hormone receptor-positive tumors, about one-half of patients fail to take their medications as directed. A new study by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers has found that the introduction of generic aromatase inhibitors (the most common type of hormone therapy), which are considerably less expensive than their brand name counterparts, increased treatment adherence by 50 percent.

The study was published today in the online issue of Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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