I find that many of my patients stay on the medications because of the results that they get. When patients come back for their first follow-up after starting the on the GLP-1 analog, I have one of my medical assistants fill out a sheet with the important information I think keeps the patient on the medication.
This sheet lists the patient’s A1c for the past 3 appointments and their current A1c. This gives the patient the opportunity to see that the addition of a GLP-1 analog has stopped the rise in A1c and, in fact, lowered it. The sheet also contains the patient’s weight for the past 3 visits so that they can see that the GLP-1 analog has stopped the weight gain they had been experiencing and in many cases has even caused them to lose weight.
Our biggest battle in keeping our patients on GLP-1 analog therapy has been the insurance companies. Although they seem to have good formulary coverage for these products the co-pays are often very high. We are also in an area where a lot of patients are not insured and so the cost of these medications can be prohibitive. In both of these cases I will give the patient samples for the first month and then if the copay is high I will supply them with samples every other month in order to make the effective cost of a month’s supply half of what it could be. This method seems to have a positive effect on the patient and often times this is all that it takes to get the patient to stay on the product.