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HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND PATIENT COMPLIANCE - AN INNOVATIVE SOLUTION TO AN AGE-OLD PROBLEM -

 HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND PATIENT COMPLIANCE
 - AN INNOVATIVE SOLUTION TO AN AGE-OLD PROBLEM -
 CHICAGO, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of high blood pressure patients will be phoned beginning in April with reminders to take their medicine as part of a new, nationwide, first-of-its-kind program to solve one of the most persistent problems in health care -- getting patients to take their medication as prescribed.
 "The program is for patients taking Calan SR, one of the country's most widely prescribed high blood pressure medicines," says V.N. "Andy" Anderson, president of U.S. operations for Searle. "The Calan SR Patients-in-Compliance program will help combat the biggest problem in treating hypertension -- the failure of patients to follow their prescriptions. This series of 16 friendly reminders will reinforce the message every physician gives patients about taking their medicine to protect their health." Searle's new program will be in full swing during National High Blood Pressure month in May.
 Searle is kicking off its campaign to improve compliance by calling Calan(R) SR (verapamil HCI) patients, because noncompliance has been documented as especially high in treating diseases -- like high blood pressure -- that are long-term and without symptoms.
 Patient noncompliance -- the failure to take medication as prescribed, either at correct intervals or for the indicated length of time -- drastically impacts healthcare treatment in the United States. According to a 1990 report issued by the Office of Inspector General, research indicates that 55 percent of the elderly do not follow the medication regimens prescribed by their physicians. About half of the 1.8 billion prescriptions filled in the U.S. annually are not taken correctly. It has been reported that 20 million work days and $1.5 billion in earnings are lost each year due to noncompliance. Fifty to 75 percent of patients do not follow their medication instructions closely enough to determine whether therapy works. About 6-10 percent of hospital admissions may be due to poor patient compliance with medication orders. The direct costs of hospital admissions due to drug therapy noncompliance are estimated to be $8.5 billion annually.
 "We hope this program can help reduce the enormous burden that noncompliance places on America's healthcare system. If we can get people to take their high blood pressure medication as prescribed, we will improve America's health and free up much needed healthcare resources. As a contributor to America's healthcare needs, it is Searle's social responsibility to improve the state of American health care whenever we can," Anderson says.
 Irwin Rosenstock, Ph.D., a leader in the study of healthcare compliance, has expressed support for the Searle program because studies show that interventions aimed at modifying behavior, such as telephone calls, can succeed in getting patients to take medications correctly. "In the short-term, patient remainders are the single most important thing we can do to improve compliance," says Dr. Rosenstock, professor and director of the Center for Health Behavior Studies at California State University in Long Beach.
 The Calan SR Patients-in-Compliance(TM) program, available to both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking patients, will be provided for patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) who start a prescription for Calan SR, Searle's once-a-day calcium channel blocker, which is currently prescribed for hypertension (see full prescribing information below). To enroll, patients complete and mail a postage- paid card supplied by their doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
 Each patient will receive a series of 16 telephone calls over four weeks from a Searle operator -- not a computer or recorded message. Asking for the patient by name, at a time of day specified by the patient, a Searle operator will phone daily during the first week. Patients will receive five calls in the second week, three calls in the third week, and one call in the final week.
 "Because high blood pressure doesn't have symptoms, there are no signs to help remind patients to take their medicines," says Stephen Brunton, M.D., director of the Family Medicine Residency Program at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in California, who sees the Calan SR Patients-in-Compliance program as a ground-breaking initiative. "It's human nature to forget to take medicines -- even doctors don't remember all the time. In a sense, this program extends the doctor-patient relationship outside of my office."
 Searle is a research-based pharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and markets prescription pharmaceuticals worldwide. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto Company (NYSE: MTC).
 -0- 3/25/92
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: Full prescribing information and additional materials available upon request. Call Kevin Donovan, 212-995-2990/
 /CONTACT: Paul Laland, 708-470-6584, or Laura Leber, 708-470-6280, both of Searle/
 (MTC) CO: G.D. Searle & Co. ST: Illinois IN: HEA SU: PDT


PS -- NY006 -- 1332 03/25/92 06:00 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 25, 1992
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