Assessment of clinical pharmacist management of lipid-lowering therapy in a primary care setting

J Manag Care Pharm. May-Jun 2003;9(3):269-73. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2003.9.3.269.


Background: Pharmacists have been shown to positively impact the outcomes of care for treatment of many different kinds of disease states. In particular, pharmacist-run lipid clinics have enjoyed varying degrees of success, depending on the outcome assessed. At our hospital, when a patient is transferred to the pharmacist-coordinated lipid clinic, the primary care pharmacist is responsible for ordering and interpreting labs and prescribing and monitoring lipid-altering therapy.

Objective: This study was designed to assess if there is a statistically significant difference between the magnitude of serum cholesterol reduction for patients receiving lipid-altering pharmacotherapy when clinically trained pharmacists are actively prescribing and adjusting the drug therapy compared to other health care practitioners (usual care).

Methods: Patient records from the hospital computer databases were retrospectively and randomly selected for analysis. Following evaluation for inclusions and exclusions, 41 patient records remained for statistical analysis for the cohort group, and 47 records remained from the group of patients managed by a clinical pharmacist.

Results: Management of dyslipidemia by a clinical pharmacist was associated with a significant reduction in overall mean low-density lipoprotein (LDL, 18.5%) compared to the cohort that did not have a clinical pharmacist as the primary manager of dyslipidemia (6.5%, P=0.049). This suggests improved clinical outcomes, defined as greater LDL reduction, when clinical pharmacists participate in lipid management, including drug prescribing. The magnitude reduction in LDL was found to be related to the number of clinical pharmacy visits (11.4% for 1 visit, 23.2% for 2 visits, and 23.7% for >3 visits), compared to the usual care group (-11.0%, 18.0%, and 7.4%; statistically significant, P=0.038, for >3 visits only). These results occurred even though the group of dyslipidemic patients managed primarily by a clinical pharmacist contained a statistically greater number of patients with 2 or more risk factors and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels less than 40 mg/dL.

Conclusion: Interdisciplinary medical teams that include clinical pharmacists who are actively prescribing and adjusting lipid drug therapy may achieve greater reductions in LDL for patients who have been assessed with multiple risk factors compared to patients managed without clinical pharmacists. Active participation by clinical pharmacists in lipid management for patients with elevated LDL resulted in improved treatment success as measured by the magnitude reduction in LDL. The reduction in LDL was between 5% and 22% per visit greater for patients being treated by clinical pharmacists versus usual care, even in a patient population with more risk factors. These intermediate outcomes may translate into long-term outcomes in fewer cardiovascular events, improved quality of life for patients with dyslipidemia, and lower costs associated with sequelae of dyslipidemias.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / economics
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / organization & administration*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Drug Monitoring / methods
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care
  • Pharmaceutical Services / economics*
  • Pharmaceutical Services / organization & administration*
  • Pharmacists
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Professional Role
  • Random Allocation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Triglycerides