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A significant factor in treating sickle cell disease is the practice of shared decision-making, which gives the provider and patient a collaborative approach to disease management, according to Dr. Titilope Fasipe.
In an interview with HCPLive, Titilope Fasipe, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Texas Children's Cancer & Hematology Centers, Baylor College of Medicine, reflected on the progress that's been made with sickle cell disease treatments and explained how she talks with her patients when implementing a new treatment to their regimen.
With 3 of the 4 primary therapies for the disease becoming available just in the last few years, physicians are starting to familiarlize themselves and feel more comfortable when prescribing them in their practice.
Fasipe explained that when a new drug emerges or becomes approved there's usually a certain vigilance that comes with utilizing it, even for physicians who are familiar with the research. Understanding a clinical trial instills competence, but it doesn't negate "the fear of trying something new".
"Having that information gives power," she said, "and gives that sense of peace that this was already studied."
A significant factor in this progress is the practice of shared decision-making, which gives the provider and patient a collaborative approach to a patient's disease management so they have ownership. Fasipe said it's all about active and ongoing conversations with the patient.
"It's very satisfying when I show families the labs." She tells them, "'look at what happened while you're on your hydroxyurea,' and we see that progress that reinforces behavior because it reinforces them feeling better."
There are many factors at play when it comes to treatment adherence in this population and Fasipe said that these factors have even been considered more recently when clinical trials are designed.
"Most times adherence issues lie in either, lack of understanding of the medicine, and sometimes fear of the medicine and side effects. That's a very common reason why people sometimes don't adhere," she explained, "and so the more open communication you have with families and with individuals with the disease, the stronger you'll see that they have that ownership and buy in. It allows them to feel empowered."