Despite the advent of new drugs that now allow many children with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) to enter remission after 1 month of treatment, nearly one in five child survivors of the disease will relapse. Unfortunately, although 2 years of maintenance medication with 6-mercaptopurine helps prevent the return of ALL, a new study shows that one in four children aren't taking these drugs. Due to racial/ethnic differences in ALL survival rates, the researchers also evaluated medication adherence according to race/ethnicity by tracking medication levels in the children's bloodstreams and how often pill bottles were opened via an electronic microprocessor chip in the cap of the pill bottle. They found that Hispanic children were less likely to take their pills regularly than white children. Further, results showed that 46% of black children, 28% of Asian children, and 14% of white children were not taking enough medication to prevent relapse. Certain factors, including whether the primary caretaker was a mother, the number of children in the household, and parent education appeared to affect medication adherence. Future studies could investigate the physician's role in intervening to increase adherence, the researchers said.
(HealthDay News) – For child survivors of a blood cancer called acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), two years of follow-up medications help assure that the cancer doesn’t return. But a new study finds that a quarter of these young cancer survivors aren’t taking the potentially lifesaving drugs. A prime reason for the lapse: […].