As more disease-specific treatments emerge on the pharmaceutical scene, specialty medications continue to be one of the fastest-growing areas of drug therapy. In fact, many specialty medications have now been developed that do not require sole prescribing by a certain kind of specialist. While once seen as almost impossible to obtain for patients, the widespread acceptance of the benefits of specialty medications has made them more requested by patients and more likely to be considered by physicians when developing treatment plans for patients. For example, the treatment of osteoporosis is an area where primary care physicians and internists can prescribe and even administer specialty medications to improve patient outcomes.
Prolia is a specialty medication proven to increase bone mineral density and significantly reduce the fracture of the spine, hip, and other bones in postmenopausal women. Women who took Prolia for 3 years reduced their risk of spine fracture by 68%. Prolia also increases bone mass in men with osteoporosis who have a high risk for fracture, and also has indications for corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis and cancer treatment-induced bone loss. It has to be administered at the physician’s office in the presence of clinical staff; therefore, the pharmacy delivers the medication directly to the provider’s office to preserve the cold chain and ensure the medication is only given by a medical professional. Other specialty medications for the treatment of osteoporosis are Tymlos and Forteo. These both have a 2-year maximum duration of therapy but are administered daily by the patient.
Insurance plan requirements may vary slightly, but the only criteria primarily for any of these medications are: (a) proof of osteoporosis diagnosis; (b) previous trial/intolerance/contraindication to bisphosphonate therapy. A good specialty pharmacy should assist with the prior authorization process and help patients obtain copay assistance and grant funding if necessary. At Sona Specialty Pharmacy, we hand deliver the medications to your office or to the patient’s home. If you are looking into prescribing more specialty medications, be sure to find a pharmacy that is willing to do whatever is necessary to take care of the patient.
Interested in learning more? You can speak with our Specialty team by calling (828) 348-3033.