Background and objective: Pharmacists are now adopting a crucial role in the management of chronic illness in primary care, providing diabetes care and advice. This review aims to show whether a range of diabetes care interventions delivered by pharmacists is successful in improving adherence to medication.
Methods: The studies reviewed formed a subgroup of a Cochrane review on interventions to improve adherence to medication in people with type 2 diabetes. Search terms were 'type 2 diabetes mellitus' and 'compliance' or 'adherence'. Studies were included if they assessed adherence to medical treatment specifically, rather than other aspects of self-management. Out of the 21 studies selected for review, five described an intervention delivered by a pharmacist.
Results and discussion: Two studies reported on attempts to improve adherence focused on the taking of medication. A system of reminders and packaging improved medication adherence, but measuring medicine taking through pill counts or Medication Event Monitoring System was not effective. Three studies evaluated pharmacist-led integrated management and education programmes designed to improve glycaemic control for under-served patient populations. They all succeeded in lowering glycated haemoglobin, but it remains unclear whether this resulted from improved patient adherence.
Conclusion: This review indicates a potential benefit of pharmacist interventions to improve medication adherence in diabetes, especially in providing patient education.