Reducing risk with new prescriptions

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Larry Galluzzo
Larry Galluzzo

Seniors take more medication than any other age group. In fact, according to the CDC's State of Aging and Health in America 2004 report, adults 65 and older account for 34% of all prescription medications and 30% of all nonprescription medications. However, older adults only comprise 13% of the U.S. population.

A report by the Food and Drug Administration found that individuals aged 65 to 69 years old take nearly 14 prescription medications per day, while individuals aged 80 to 84 take an average of 18 prescription medications. With so many older adults taking multiple medications, physicians must be careful and strategic about the medications they recommend.

Every individual reacts differently to the medications that are prescribed to them, largely due to our genetic make-up. A certain medication could have a great impact on an individual's health or no impact at all. And don't forget there's always the risk of allergic reaction, adverse effects, intolerance to the medication, interactions with other drugs or interactions with foods. Beyond this, physicians must also consider age, gender, race, overall health or adherence.

Assurex Health saw these challenges in the healthcare industry and designed a genetic test called GeneSight that can help eliminate some of the risks of new medication with a simple cheek swab test. That's why Skilled Care Pharmacy was so excited to partner with this organization.

GeneSight helps physicians take a personalized approach to prescribing medications to treat behavioral health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, and chronic pain. It is proven to enhance patient outcomes. In multiple peer-reviewed, published clinical studies, GeneSight was found to double the odds of patients' responses to treatment, double the rate of remission and reduce depressive symptoms by 70 percent.

Not only does GeneSight allow for an objective, individualized approach that is often more effective, but it also reduces costs. Generally, there is no out of pocket cost for GeneSight, as Medicare Part B and C cover the service. Assurex Health has found that recipients of the test save more than $1,000 for prescription costs and an additional $1,500 for prescription utilization per person.

After analyzing genes individually and in combination, GeneSight sends you the results of the test are within 36 hours and provide a simple color-coded report based on the efficacy and tolerability of different medications.

This test is going to help us get our residents on the right medications at the right time, a philosophy that Skilled Care Pharmacy deeply values. We know that fewer medications mean a better quality of life for residents. And we know that the right medications can help reduce hospital visits. Assurex Health's GeneSight will help us further deliver against that end goal.

Larry Galluzzo, R.Ph., is the founder and CEO of Skilled Care Pharmacy. He also co-founded NetRx, a purchasing cooperative comprising owners of privately held pharmacies. Prior to starting Skilled Care Pharmacy, Larry managed a long-term care pharmacy in Cincinnati. Larry received his pharmacy degree at the University of Cincinnati. 

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