Background: Hypertension affects over 50 million Americans, with only 50% of patients being adequately controlled. Several pharmacist counseling and pharmacist-physician comanagement studies have documented that community pharmacist interventions improve blood pressure (BP) management.
Objective: To determine whether community pharmacists can improve clinical endpoints including hypertension control, drug therapy dosing, adherence to prescribed regimens, adverse drug reaction incidence, patient understanding, response to therapy, and quality-of-life.
Methods: The program included the education and training of a group of 18 chain community pharmacists in hypertension therapies, monitoring, and management. Protocols and documentation tools were based on nationally accepted clinical practice guidelines for hypertension in place at the time of the study. Pharmaceutical care (PC) was then compared with usual care (UC) over a 12-month period.
Results: The study initially enrolled 180 PC and 196 UC patients, with 44% (PC) and 32% (UC) of the patients reporting a final BP measurement. A larger proportion (50%) of PC patients who had poorly controlled hypertension at baseline (>140/90 mm Hg) were controlled compared with UC patients (22%). The average reduction in systolic BP was 9.9 mm Hg in PC patients compared with 2.8 mm Hg in UC patients (p < 0.05). Changes in diastolic BP were similar in the PC and UC groups. Based on patient self-report, PC patients were more likely to say that they take their medicines as prescribed compared with UC patients (p < 0.05). The 1- to 6-month antihypertensive adherence rate was higher in PC patients (0.91 +/- 0.15) compared to UC patients (0.78 +/- 0.30) (p = 0.02); there was no significant difference in adherence rate during the 7- to 12-month period.
Conclusions: Community pharmacists can positively affect patient medication adherence during the 6-month period following counseling by a pharmacist along with an improvement in patient BP. However, there is much room for improvement in PC programs and in the number of patients who properly adhere to their medications.