How Long Will MPN Treatment Last?

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Topics include: Treatments

The thought of MPN therapy can be daunting and for others, it’s not so bad.  Doctors are often asked, “How long will I need treatment?” Drs. Jason Gotlib and Srdan Verstovsek discuss the parameters of MPN therapies and what you should ask your own doctor about your treatment.  Learn what considerations are made when medicines are prescribed and how MPN patients are monitored throughout treatment.

Sponsored by Incyte Corporation, CTI BioPharma and Geron Corporation. 

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of MD Anderson Cancer Center, its medical staff or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Jeff Folloder:

Doctors, how long will I have to take my meds?

Dr. Gotlib:

Well, I’ll just start by saying that the first question, of course, is why is that particular medicine prescribed? What is the indication? But generally speaking, the duration of taking a medication is as long as it’s achieving a benefit, as long as it’s tolerable without unacceptable toxicity.

So, and that’s a discussion between the physician and the patient. If their disease should transform, there may not be any evidence of diseases working, so there needs to be a pivot in perhaps therapeutic management. Toxicities always need to be readdressed on a continuous basis. That may again be another reason to change. So those are kind of two cornerstones. Is it doing what it’s supposed to, and is the patient tolerating it?

Jeff Folloder:

So the answer is maybe. 

Dr. Verstovsek:

Well, the rule of thumb usually is for me is if you provide the therapy, as long as there’s a benefit without toxicity. So, safety first, but there must be a benefit, which can be measured in different ways. It can be shrinkage of the spleen, improvement in quality of life, decreasing the white cell count or platelets.

Whatever the benefit is you provide the therapy as long as there is a benefit and as long as it’s safe. Now in myelofibrosis, many times this is tied to a question of how long I’m going to live? Now we don’t have medications to eliminate disease. We talked about this earlier. When we provide medications to control the signs and symptoms to patients with myelofibrosis as long as it’s possible for this medication, give a medication to provide benefit.

And we know already that we are able to provide for the patients, preventing progression, preventing the spleen to grow, preventing weight loss, preventing a liver to enlarge, preventing lung and heart failures and stuff like that.

So we are already able to affect the outcome of the patients just with control of signs and symptoms, not eliminating disease. So those experiences in the past, which anybody online can actually see about the prognostication of the life, may not apply anymore.

And in my practice, our goal is to prolong life of the patients as long as is possible, and it’s a good quality of life.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of MD Anderson Cancer Center, its medical staff or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on December 24, 2015