Improving Care and Outcomes for Sickle Cell Patients

04.18.2019 Atrium Health News | Levine Cancer Institute | Levine Children's

Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the US – almost 100,000 Americans have it – but it’s commonly misunderstood as well. Most sickle cell disease patients have no outward symptoms, even as they suffer chronic pain, fatigue and infections. Too often, this invisible illness is minimalized, and patients lack the support they need.

Over the last few decades, Atrium Health has stood at the forefront of new innovations and therapies to bring drastic improvement to sickle cell disease patients’ quality of life. Beginning as early as childhood, Levine Children’s Hospital’s pediatric sickle cell program ensures that patients receive cutting edge treatments and guide them in their transition of care as they enter adulthood to begin treatment at Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute.

Atrium Health is also participating and engaging in clinical research and clinical trials in the treatment of sickle cell disease. As new developments in pediatric and adult sickle cell disease treatments continue to improve patient outcomes, research and innovation continually raise the bar to keep up with those outcomes – and aim for even better ones.

One of the biggest breakthroughs in recent years was last year’s approval of a new drug, called Endari. This medication reduces the inflammation and stickiness that causes red blood cells to sickle. Patients who take Endari experience a 30 to 40 percent improvement in symptoms compared to those who don’t take the drug. The result is fewer hospitalizations and pain crises.

Access to medication is one of the most pivotal needs for sickle cell patients across the board. Levine Cancer Institute is leading the charge on increasing sickle cell patient’s access to medication by enrolling them in a Patient Management program, which gives them access to Specialty Pharmacy Services. This is a new integrated pharmacy model that works with sickle cell patients to inform them of the benefits of medications such as Endari, how they may help them, and to find discounts, coupons and payment options to make prescriptions more affordable.

The evolution in the treatment of sickle cell disease care has picked up speed in recent years. With new transplant options, a new medication, as well as a new use of an existing medication, providers are discovering new ways to manage patients’ symptoms. And as new therapies emerge, Atrium Health is working to make them more accessible and affordable for those who need them, allowing more people who live with sickle cell disease to live with a higher quality of life.

Download our eBook to learn more about sickle cell disease and how Atrium Health helps those who have it.