Pharmacy-based interdisciplinary intervention for patients with chronic heart failure: results of the PHARM-CHF randomized controlled trial

Eur J Heart Fail. 2019 Aug;21(8):1012-1021. doi: 10.1002/ejhf.1503. Epub 2019 Jun 7.


Aims: Medication non-adherence is frequent and is associated with high morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). We investigated whether an interdisciplinary intervention improves adherence in elderly CHF patients.

Methods and results: The study population (mean age 74 years, 62% male, mean left ventricular ejection fraction 47%, 52% in New York Heart Association class III) consisted of 110 patients randomized into the pharmacy care and 127 into the usual care group. The median follow-up was 2.0 years (interquartile range 1.2-2.7). The pharmacy care group received a medication review followed by regular dose dispensing and counselling. Control patients received usual care. The primary endpoint was medication adherence as proportion of days covered (PDC) within 365 days for three classes of heart failure medications (beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, and mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists). The main secondary outcome was the proportion of adherent patients (PDC ≥ 80%). The primary safety endpoint was days lost due to unplanned cardiovascular hospitalizations (blindly adjudicated) or death. Pharmacy care compared with usual care resulted in an absolute increase in mean adherence to three heart failure medications for 365 days [adjusted difference 5.7%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.6-9.8, P = 0.007]. The proportion of patients classified as adherent increased (odds ratio 2.9, 95% CI 1.4-5.9, P = 0.005). Pharmacy care improved quality of life after 2 years (adjusted difference in Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire scores -7.8 points (-14.5 to -1.1; P = 0.02), compared to usual care. Pharmacy care did not affect the safety endpoints of hospitalizations or deaths.

Conclusion: Pharmacy care safely improved adherence to heart failure medications and quality of life.

Keywords: Chronic heart failure; Community pharmacy services; Interdisciplinary care; Medication adherence; Pharmacy care; Randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Stroke Volume / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors