Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of pharmacist- managed dyslipidemia clinics at 2 Veterans Affairs medical centers since the release of the 2001 National Cholesterol Education Panel Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III) guideline compared with the usual care (UC) provided by other health care professionals in the same setting.
Methods: Analysis was performed through retrospective chart review of patients with a diagnosis of dyslipidemia who received care in either the Amarillo or Lubbock, Texas, pharmacist-managed lipid clinics (LCs) or UC from a primary care physician. Data from medical charts were abstracted for dates of service from July 2001 to December 2003 for 115 patients selected randomly from LC rolls matched with 115 patients with a diagnosis of dyslipidemia selected randomly from UC. All patients had to have had at least 3 visits with the LC or 3 visits in UC with a billing code of dyslipidemia; they were followed for at least 6 months after an initial visit in July 2001 or thereafter and were enrolled in the VA health care system for at least 1 year. Baseline lipid values were available for LC but not UC patients. Cholesterol target goals were determined according to NCEP ATP III guideline.
Results: After an average of 21.6 months of follow-up, the proportion of patients in the LC group that attained goal level increased from 45.2% at baseline to 82.6% for total cholesterol (TC) and from 36.5% at baseline to 64.3% for lowdensity lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C [P <0.001 for both comparisons]). There was an average 24.5 mg/dL absolute reduction (relative reduction, 19.4%) in LDL-C along with significant improvements in the other lipid levels (P <0.001 for TC and LDL-C, P = 0.007 for triglycerides [TGs]) with the exception of highdensity lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), which declined from 40.0 mg/dL to 36.3 mg/dL (P <0.001). A total of 50 patients (43.5%) were on lipid-lowering pharmacotherapy at baseline versus 108 patients (93.9%) at follow-up. Compared with UC, LC patients were more likely to have achieved goal LDL-C (64.3% vs. 15.7% for UC, P <0.001) and TC (82.6% vs. 40.9%, P <0.001), but there was no difference in the proportion of patients at TG goal for LC (65.2%) compared with UC (52.2%, P = 0.061) or at HDL-C goal (23.5% for LC vs. 33.0% for UC, P = 0.143). A higher proportion of LC patients (93.9%) used lipid-lowering agents compared with UC patients (24.3%, P <0.001). Subanalysis of patients on a lipid-lowering agent found that a significantly higher proportion (85.2%) in the LC group were at goal total cholesterol compared with 60.7% for UC (P = 0.012) and at goal LDL-C (66.7% for LC vs. 39.3% for UC, P = 0.016). However, a lower proportion were at goal HDL-C for LC (21.3%) versus 42.9% for UC (P = 0.043). Overall, only 11 LC patients (9.6%) attained goal levels for all 4 serum lipid values by the end of follow-up versus 2 UC patients (1.7%, P = 0.019).
Conclusions: Nearly two thirds of patients diagnosed with dyslipidemia and enrolled in a pharmacist-managed LC had LDL-C levels at or below NCEP ATP III target goal compared with 16% of dyslipidemia patients who received UC from their primary care provider. The pharmacist-managed LC patients were also twice as likely (83 vs. 41%) to have attained the TC target goal, but there was no difference between the 2 groups in the proportion of patients who attained either TG or HDL-C target goals. Only 9.6% of LC patients were at goal for all 4 individual lipid measures at the end of follow-up.