Longer-lasting factor—and knowing what’s right for you.
For decades, patients have relied on infusion products with a relatively short half-life to treat hemophilia. But for many patients, this means daily infusions and nursing visits—and in some instances, it may even require dosing several times a day. This factor is not only inconvenient, but may also become unnecessary as advancements in half-life medications show promise in improving patients’ quality of life.
Is this what we’ve been waiting for?
As the pace of modern life continues to pick up speed, the bleeding disorder community calls for better half-life alternative medication options that fit comfortably in busy schedules. Manufacturers and pharmacies are adjusting to meet the demand—and in 2014, longer-lasting factor products finally hit the market.
As anticipated, patients began asking their providers to help them make the switch to a longer-lasting factor. The new products have shown success for people treating hemophilia: This means fewer sticks per month, and for many, their annual bleed rate (ABR) remains the same or has decreased. This is fantastic news for anyone who wants to live more and infuse less. Seems like a win-win, right?
We’re excited for the new longer-lasting product and the profound impact it may have on people with hemophilia across the world. All of this supports our commitment to providing the highest level of care to patients in our ARJ family. Since every patient is unique, we encourage you to discuss treatment options with your care team in order to evaluate whether longer-lasting factor products are right for you.
Longer-lasting products are beneficial for several reasons—here’s what we like:
- Parents may not have to dose children as frequently
- Fewer doses are necessary each month, so supplies and storage are minimal
- Lengthier coverage can mean fewer bleeds, allowing individuals to be more involved in activities
If you’re thinking about switching to a longer-lasting product, have you thought about these questions?
Will my insurance cover this product?
One of the biggest challenges continues to be whether insurance will cover the cost of longer-lasting factor. Many payers will not cover these products or will only cover them as prescriptions rather than medical expenses. This may lead to nearly unmanageable co-pays.
Is co-pay and premium assistance available for these new products?
Consult an ARJ Patient Resource Coordinator to find out your options. He or she will be able to help you review your benefits and sign up for any free or discounted programs that may be available to you.
What if I have a bleed? Can I continue using the longer-lasting factor, or will I need to supplement with additional products?
In this case it’s best to contact your hematologist or hemophilia treatment center to discuss the dosage options that work best for you.
Can I over-clot with this product?
It is important to consult your physician when dosing with any factor product for bleeding episodes outside your prophylactic schedule.
Is it safe to switch from plasma-derived products to recombinant infusions?
Both plasma-derived and recombinant factor products have benefits and downfalls. This is an individual decision that should be discussed with your hematologist. Many patients can switch with no problem while others react better to one or the other.
What if longer-lasting products aren’t a good fit for me?
As with any new medication, understanding what works best takes time. The bleeding disorder community will continue to advocate for better treatment options. Support groups and community members are a great source of help; however, they are not a substitute for medical advice.