Objective: To determine proof of concept for use of a network of pharmacists to evaluate the safety of medications.
Design: Pilot, comparative, prospective evaluation.
Setting: Community pharmacies and a pharmacist-staffed call center in Arizona during January through August 2006.
Patients: Patients filling prescriptions for ipratropium or tiotropium bromide at 1 of 55 Arizona pharmacies were encouraged to call a pharmacist-staffed call center. A total of 67 patients contacted the center and 41 participated.
Intervention: A network of community pharmacies and a call center were used to collect data on patients receiving one of two medications for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Pharmacists in the community pharmacies recruited patients who presented with a prescription or requested a refill for one of the medications. The call center was used to collect patient data. Patients provided data on medication use, completed the chronic respiratory questionnaire (CRQ), and were encouraged to call the center to report health problems. After 30 days, patients were called to determine whether they experienced any adverse events while taking their medication and the CRQ was readministered.
Main outcome measure: Knowledge gained on the feasibility of the model using pharmacists to assess drug safety.
Results: A total of 67 (6.7%) of a possible 995 patients contacted the call center about participating in the study. Approximately one-half (n = 28) of the 55 pharmacies had one or more patients contact the center about the study. A total of 41 patients met inclusion/exclusion criteria and were enrolled. Six (15%) patients reported an adverse effect, including one serious adverse event (acute glaucoma).
Conclusion: This study provides limited evidence that community pharmacies and a pharmacist-staffed call center can be used to assess medication safety; however, a number of issues need to be examined to determine whether the approaches can be sufficiently effective.