Adjunct can mean to "join together" or to "combine," and adjunctive therapy is an additional or secondary therapy combined with a primary treatment that increases effectiveness in treating a condition. Medical practitioners use this therapy frequently to get better cure rates or a faster response to primary treatment. It can take many different forms. Some adjunct therapy involves using more than one medicine to treat something. Other times, several different treatment strategies or types or care are employed simultaneously.
When it comes to drug adjunctive therapy, there are numerous available examples. Often, people will be on a primary asthma medication that isn’t fully controlling their symptoms. In these instances, doctors could consider prescribing a second medication to better treatment symptoms, like combining the use of a fast acting inhaler with a steroid inhaler. A few companies even combine two medicines in single inhalers that have been shown to be more effective together than alone.
In certain instances, a second medicine doesn’t treat the primary condition but actually makes the first medicine work more effectively. Some antibiotics work in this manner and a resistant infection might be treated with two types of antibiotics at once, each contributing to the efficiency of the other. A few mood stabilizing drugs work in a similar way, where the use of a second as a combined therapy actually increases the efficacy of the first, possibly raising its blood concentration level or making it easier to absorb.
Another way in which drug combination therapy may be employed is to minimize side effects of a primary therapy. Some medicines cause uncomfortable or dangerous side effects. By co-administering another agent, doctors may be able to reduce these problems.
There are many times when a person requires more than one type of therapy to treat a condition. A stroke victim needs the primary care of medical treatment and vigilance, but if brain damage has occurred, adjunctive therapy in other forms needs to begin soon after the stroke. Speech, occupational, or physical therapy could be adjunct to primary medical care, and its role is to help provide greater healing and opportunity to recover function. Many people who have been injured have some form of physical therapy as adjunct to the care received by physicians.
Adjunctive therapy is also very common in the treatment of any mental illnesses. In addition to drug treatment, which can help reduce symptoms, psychotherapy is frequently used. In fact, it’s been repeatedly shown that people with serious mental illness benefit best by a model that includes both medications and psychotherapy. There is a greater likelihood of the person reaching recovery and remaining stable.
Many other examples exist of adjunctive therapy. Cancer patients might have surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Diabetics could get nutritional counseling. People with sight problems might get eyeglasses and do eye exercises. Such examples are only a very few of the many ways that medicine combines therapies for better care.