Objective: To examine the effects of pharmacist monitoring on patient satisfaction with and adherence to antidepressant medication therapy.
Design: In this prospective field study, we interviewed patients starting an antidepressant after a new prescription was dispensed and again 2 months later. The first interview assessed patients' characteristics, antidepressant medication history, knowledge of antidepresant medications and their use, and beliefs about antidepressant medications. The second interview focused on pharmacist monitoring behavior and satisfaction with the antidepressant medication.
Setting and participants: From 23 community pharmacies, we enrolled 100 patients, 59 of whom were taking an antidepressant for the first time.
Main outcome measures: Patient satisfaction with and reported adherence to their antidepressant medication regimen.
Results: Pharmacist monitoring of patients' antidepressant medication use varied. More than 70% of patients reported that pharmacists asked about medication concerns; 53% and 54% of patients, respectively, said pharmacists encouraged their questions and listened to their concerns; and 32% found pharmacists helpful in solving problems related to the antidepressant. Fifty-seven percent of patients reported feeling better a lot of the time since taking the antidepressant, 40% said the antidepressant did not bother them, and 83% reported missing doses, adding doses, or stopping the antidepressant during the study period. Initial beliefs about antidepressants were a strong predictor of patient outcomes. Pharmacist monitoring was predictive of satisfaction and adherence for individuals taking an antidepressant for the first time.
Conclusion: Pharmacists can play a critical role in monitoring medication concerns at the beginning of use, allowing for problem solving, reinforcement, and greater patient satisfaction with and adherence to medication therapy. Obstacles to effective pharmacist monitoring and follow-up need to be identified and addressed in future improvement efforts.