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By Terry Cato, Senior Director, Rare Disorders at Walgreens

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a complex genetic disease affecting the respiratory and digestive systems, and impacts approximately 30,000 adults and children in the US.1  It is a disease that is persistent and operates on its own agenda. Treatment advances have made an incredible difference in the lives of people with CF over the past 30 years. But while these advances provide more ways to treat and slow disease progression, they can also increase the time and management processes needed to administer treatment. This can often be discouraging to those living with CF and, along with the high rates of depression and anxiety reported by patients,2 can lead to low adherence rates. Research has shown CF patient adherence is below 50 percent.3 Nonadherence can lead to more frequent medical emergencies, longer hospital stays, and increased progression of the disease. Fortunately, CF healthcare providers are always looking for ways to help change that.

Since CF is a chronic disease and is often diagnosed at birth, patients and their providers can build life-long relationships and form trusted bonds. The value of a provider’s guidance is often stronger because of this trust, allowing him or her to articulate the importance of adherence. How that guidance is provided can vary from patient to patient – or even with the same patient at different stages of that patient’s life. Some respond to positive reinforcement or written treatment plans, while others do better when they understand that adherence is one of the things they can most control about their CF. No matter the method, CF providers should be applauded for their dedication to their patients and their determination to stand alongside them and fight this complex disease.

In my role at Walgreens, I’ve seen the impact CF providers make on their patients’ lives. Their dedication to the CF community is incredible, and the lifelong bonds they share with their patients are truly inspiring. We at Walgreens are moved by these providers who are there for their patients each and every day, sharing much more than just medical advice. CF nurses, social workers, and doctors are an integral part of their patients’ lives, serving as a positive force of consistency and reliability.  From adherence and medication guidance to nutrition counseling and social work, they do it all. These everyday heroes truly make a difference for thousands of people every year and for that, we recognize them.

Due to the complexity of CF Care, sometimes even the most seasoned provider can feel overwhelmed with treatment regimens. Programs like Walgreens Connected Care® Cystic Fibrosis Program were developed to help ease that burden on providers and patients alike. An enhanced therapy management program, Walgreens Connected Care® offers medication-specific education, patient check-ins, and personalized communication to support adherence and help CF patients succeed on their therapy plan. Our goal is to make adherence easier for both patients and providers, so CF patients can continue to live happier, healthier lives.

To learn more about Walgreens and Cystic Fibrosis Services and how we can help providers and patients with adherence, visit us online or email us at [email protected].

1 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Patient registry annual data report 2013. Published October, 2013. Accessed November 3, 2015.
2 Wohletz MC. Cystic fibrosis: optimizing outcomes via team-based care. Pharmacy Practice News. Published November 2014. Accessed October 23, 2015.
3 Quittner AL, Zhang J, Marynchenko M, et al. Pulmonary medication adherence and health-care use in cystic fibrosis. Chest. 2014;146(1):142-151.