Factor replacement is currently the standard of care to prevent or treat bleeding episodes in haemophilia patients. This study examined current prescribing practices of factor therapy for patients at haemophilia treatment centres (HTCs) in the United States.
The aims were to evaluate the driving forces for prescribing factor products, to evaluate current attitudes and knowledge toward factor product and industry, and to discuss the implications for health care providers in practice.
An anonymous electronic survey was distributed to 744 HTC health care providers (HCPs); 118 responses were analysed.
The most common driving force for HCPs to change a patient's factor product was poor response to current therapy, while the most common perception of patients’ motivation to switch products was the potential for fewer infusions. HCPs with strong influence over the prescribed therapy identified inadequate pharmacokinetic (PK) studies as an important driving force; patients/caregivers perceived as having a strong influence over which therapy is prescribed selected less frequent dosing as an important motivator. HCPs who allow patients/caregivers to have a strong influence over which factor is prescribed were more likely to cite patient/caregiver request as a significant driving force for change in therapy.
The haemophilia treatment landscape continues to evolve and is becoming increasingly complex. The multitude of treatment options available now offer choices, presenting a need to focus on patient-centric prophylaxis.
Pain associated with bleeding disorders has been demonstrated to have an impact on patients’ and families’ quality of life. Both acute and chronic pain are common experiences and require attention by professionals working in haemophilia treatment centres (HTCs). The benefits of psychological pain management strategies such as cognitive behaviour therapy and self-management skills training are well documented; however, it is not well understood how Canadian social workers involved in haemophilia care perceive and provide pain management support to patients.
To explore the current understanding of pain management and practice as well as the education needs of members of Canadian Social Workers in Hemophilia Care (CSWHC).
Twelve semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with members of CSWHC. Transcribed interviews were coded with NVivo software and thematically analysed.
The four key themes reflecting the experiences of social workers are: 1) Limited comprehension of key issues related to pain; 2) Conditioning to push through pain; 3) Expanding pain knowledge to enhance practice; 4) How we practice social work and choose to step in.
The current practice of CSWHC members aligns with literature in three main areas including assessment, instrumental services, and counselling. Social workers support the development of pain education and practical resources for patients with haemophilia who experience pain. While formal education, advocacy, and policy development of pain assessment and management are recognised, these areas require further research and development.
Some studies suggest that people with haemophilia (PwH) who use prophylaxis value low frequency of clotting factor administration more than a lower risk of bleeding. However, more frequent infusions offer the potential of reducing joint disease and pain, which in turn may improve functioning and quality of life.
To explore the impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) aspects of haemophilia associated with adherence and annual infusion rate in the context of factors influencing treatment that are important to patients, including prophylaxis, chronic pain, concomitant conditions and hospital admission.
Materials and methods
HRQoL was assessed in participants with severe haemophilia in the ‘Cost of Haemophilia in Europe: a Socioeconomic Survey’ (CHESS) study who were using prophylaxis. Patients using on-demand treatment were excluded. This multivariate analysis examined the interaction between factors potentially influencing treatment and HRQoL, and minor and major bleeds.
From the total CHESS population (n=1,285), 338 (26%) participants provided responses for major and minor bleeds and target joints, and 145 (11%) provided EQ-5D-3L responses. Major and minor bleeds were associated with pain. Patients with severe chronic pain reported a substantial negative impact on HRQoL; but this was significantly improved by increases in the annual infusion rate. This was not apparent in participants with mild or moderate pain.
Increasing the frequency of prophylaxis infusions is associated with improved quality of life in PwH who have severe chronic pain. However, increasing the number of infusions per week in those with mild or moderate chronic pain with the intention of improving prophylactic effect may not have the same effect.
A growing body of evidence supports the recommendation of both physiotherapy and physical activity in people with haemophilia. Physical benefits include increasing strength and flexibility and reducing the risks of osteoporosis, arthropathy, and intramuscular and joint bleeds; social benefits have also been observed. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that people with haemophilia may still be averse to engaging with physical activity due to fears of causing bleeding, joint pain and joint damage.
Qualitative interviews were conducted with young men with haemophilia treated at comprehensive care centres in London, to explore and identify the reasons behind risk-averse behaviours towards exercise and physical activity. The interview questions were designed to prompt discussion and capture opinions relating to participants’ physical activity and gym membership/use, and the degree to which their haemophilia impacts on both.
Ten participants were interviewed. Preferred activities were variable, with five participants describing themselves as very physically active, three moderately active, and two reporting little physical activity; four described themselves as ‘not gym-confident’. Seven participants described themselves as highly or moderately motivated to undertake physical activity, with motivations including weight loss and getting fit for summer holidays. However, there was some anxiety around weight-bearing exercise due to the fear of pain or injury. All participants had been exposed to personal trainers (PTs) and recognised the importance of being properly introduced to training equipment but felt that PTs were too expensive for them. The majority of participants reported sports-related injuries and self-perceived limitations on activity due to their personal/individual experience of living with haemophlia. Physiotherapists were often the first point of contact for advice and support on safe physical activity. All participants recognised the benefits of physical activity and had been encouraged in this by their physiotherapists.
Young men with haemophilia are keen to use the gym as part of their personal fitness regimens. The ongoing safety concerns of health care professionals warrants further research.
Adherence to treatment recommendations in patients with chronic disease is complex and is influenced by numerous factors. Haemophilia is a chronic disease with reported levels of adherence ranging from 17–82%.
Based on the theoretical foundation of the World Health Organization Multidimensional Adherence Model, the objective of this study was to identify the best combination of the variables infusion frequency, annualised bleed rate, age, distance to haemophilia treatment centre (HTC) and Haemophilia Joint Health Score (HJHS), to predict adherence to treatment recommendations in patients with haemophilia A and B on home infusion prophylaxis in Canada.
A one-year retrospective cohort study investigated adherence to treatment recommendations using two measures: 1) subjective report via home infusion diaries, and 2) objective report of inventory ordered from Canadian Blood Services. Stepwise regression was performed for both measures.
Eighty-seven patients with haemophilia A and B, median age 21 years, were included. Adherence for both measures was 81% and 93% respectively. The sample consisted largely of patients performing an infusion frequency of every other day (34%). Median scores on the HJHS was 10.5; annualised bleed rate was two. Distance to the HTC was 51km. Analysis of the objective measure weakly supported greater infusion frequency as a treatment-related factor for the prediction of lower adherence, however the strength of this relationship was not clinically relevant (R2=0.048). For the subjective measure, none of the explanatory variables were significant.
Adherence is a multifaceted construct. Despite the use of theory, most of the variance in adherence to treatment recommendations in this sample of patients with haemophilia remains unknown. Further research on other potential predictors of adherence, and possible variables and relationships within factors of the MAM is required.
Haemophilia is a rare hereditary haemorrhagic disease caused by coagulation factor VIII (haemophilia A) or IX (haemophilia B) deficiency. Very few data exist on this disease in Congo. This survey aims to describe the epidemiological and clinical aspects of the children affected.
Materials and methods
A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out in the haematology department of the Brazzaville University Hospital over a period of two years. Children (under 18 years of age) with haemophilia and with a factor VIII or IX level less than or equal to 30% were identified. The parameters analysed included age, diagnostic delay, type and severity of haemophilia, type and frequency of bleeding manifestations, complications and history of transfusion.
Nineteen patients were identified with an average age at diagnosis of four years. The average time to diagnosis was six years, and the most frequent first known bleeding episode was haemorrhage during circumcision. Family history was found in 14 cases. There were 13 cases of haemophilia A and six cases of haemophilia B. Fourteen cases were severe haemophilia; no mild cases were identified. Haemorrhagic manifestations included haemarthrosis, haematomas and mucocutaneous haemorrhages. The average number of haemorrhagic episodes per year was 12. Haemophilic arthropathy was present at diagnosis in seven cases, with the main location being the knee. The average number of hospitalisations before diagnosis was two. Sixteen patients had been transfused at least once.
Although circumcision is the most frequent first known haemorrhagic manifestation of haemophilia in Congo, patients are often diagnosed late, sometimes with severe osteoarticular complications. Further measures are needed to help ensure early diagnosis and improve care.
Management of haemophilia A requires administration of factor VIII therapy which, for those with severe haemophilia A in the UK, is predominantly self-administered at home in a prophylactic regimen to prevent or minimise bleeding. The UK undertakes a national tendering process every three years to ensure access to current and new therapies at a cost-effective price, through contracting for large volumes from individual suppliers. This means that some products may no longer be available and that new products can enter the UK market at any tendering stage.
In the latest tendering round, in 2018, more than one product was withdrawn from the UK market and a new product (NovoEight®; Novo Nordisk) was added to the prescribing list. This meant people with haemophilia having to change products. The experience of 77 people with haemophilia or their carers who changed treatment products during this process was captured by questionnaires administered by haemophilia nurses from 12 treatment centres. Overall, although people with haemophilia felt that they had little influence in decision making about changing to NovoEight, they were confident with their new treatment including packaging and accessories for administration. This was seen more in those who switched from plasma-derived products where ease of infusion was rated highly. Users’ views of haemophilia treatment should be collected at times of change to identify facilitators and barriers experienced in self-management
Haemophilia is an X-linked congenital bleeding disorder due to deficiency of coagulation factor VIII (in haemophilia A) or factor IX (in haemophilia B) caused by mutations of the respective clotting factor genes. Treatment involves the administration of an appropriate dose of factor concentrate, as soon as possible, in the event of any bleeding episode. In low-resource settings, such as Northeast India, where factor concentrates are not widely available, people with haemophilia (PwH) may bleed profusely even from trivial external injuries, warranting transfusion of blood or blood products. We previously reported on the use of a low cost, foam-based haemostatic patch to treat an external bleed in a single patient. In this study, we investigated its use to treat a range of external injuries in PwH presenting at Assam Medical College and Hospital.
Over 24 months, eligible PwH with external injuries attending our haemophilia clinic were treated with a topical haemostatic patch (VELSEAL-T) at the target bleeding site. The time to cessation of bleeding was recorded and the wound sites evaluated after haemostasis to monitor efficacy and safety.
Out of 72 individuals with bleeding disorders who volunteered to participate, 59 cases of external bleeding in 48 PwH were eligible for inclusion in the study. Nine (15.3%) had aberration wounds, 24 (40.7%) cut wounds, 21 (35.6%) tooth and/or gum bleeding and five (8.4%) bleeding from puncture wounds. The average time required for achievement of haemostasis was 9.9 (±4.7) minutes. Aberration wounds required the least amount of time for haemostasis at 7.3 (±4.4) minutes. Cut wounds required a mean time of 8.5 (±2.9) minutes; puncture wounds required 9.0 (±3.1) minutes; gum bleeding required the longest time to achieve haemostasis with a mean of 12.7 (±5.6) minutes.
The use of this topical haemostatic patch has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of external injuries in PwH, and provides a good treatment option in resource-constrained areas. A larger controlled study would be helpful to further investigate its efficacy and safety.
Haemophilia nurses in the UK are instrumental in supporting people with haemophilia in self-management, including managing treatment options, recording treatment use and understanding the budgetary impact of prescribing practice. The widespread use of prophylaxis identified haemophilia as a high cost disorder to treat, resulting in a financially successful national tendering process with increased scrutiny of clotting factor use at both individual and haemophilia treatment centre level. The UK tenders, undertaken at a national level every three years, have ensured access to current and new therapies at the most cost-effective price through economies of scale in committing to purchase large volumes from suppliers.
In the 2018 tendering round, NovoEight® (NovoNordisk) was added to the prescribing list and other recombinant factors were withdrawn, resulting in changes in prescribing for individual people with haemophilia. This ‘switching’ process is not uncommon in the UK, where national tenders have been in place since 2004. However, the unseen additional workload for nurses, driven by the demands of timely switching to meet product volumes and contracts, has never been captured. During the 2018 switch we interviewed 11 nurses and one operational manager from haemophilia centres across the UK to identify the barriers and facilitators to instigating this change.
Ultimately the switching was completed in a timely manner, demonstrating significant cost reductions for factor concentrates. The unseen workload of the nurse – identifying which patients should have their product switched, discussion with and education of patients/families, adjusting prescriptions for home delivery of clotting factor concentrates and stock management and control to avoid waste, and organising the necessary additional clinic visits – was identified and costed based on salary per hour. Nurses remained positive that they were able to undertake this additional role but recognised that, with no specific national guidance regarding product choice, there may have inevitably been differences in approach between treatment centres.
Chronic pain is common in people with bleeding disorders and can complicate clinical management, impair quality of life, and contribute to disability. People living with bleeding disorders often seek advice on pain management from the bleeding disorder treatment team; however, lack of condition-specific assessment tools to guide clinical communication about pain are a barrier to care.
To develop and examine the clinical feasibility of a patient-reported outcome (PRO) tool designed to facilitate pain assessment and support clinical communication about pain for adults attending outpatient bleeding disorder clinics.
Tool development involved patient cognitive interviews and item refinement by a multidisciplinary clinician and patient working group. Clinical feasibility of the tool was evaluated with a survey of a small clinical sample in an outpatient bleeding disorder clinic. The Pain Treatment Planning Questionnaire (PTPQ) contains 28 items on the pain experience and treatments used to manage or prevent pain.
Participants completing the feasibility testing (n=42, 62% male) reported mild mean pain scores (usual pain μ=2.4, SD=2.0) with the majority (57.1%) reporting persistent pain in the past 30 days. Median PTPQ completion time was five to seven minutes and mean item response rate was 95.2%. The majority (95.2%) of participants found the questionnaire easy to understand, reported no difficulty understanding items, and recommended no changes to the questionnaire.
Preliminary testing among a small sample in a clinical setting suggests that the PTPQ is a clinically feasible, acceptable, condition-specific PRO pain assessment tool for adult patients with bleeding disorders. Further testing is required to determine if the PTPQ affects treatment decision-making and patient outcomes.