The impact of pharmacist/physician care on quality of life in elderly heart failure patients: results of the PHARM-CHF randomized controlled trial

ESC Heart Fail. 2020 Dec;7(6):3310-3319. doi: 10.1002/ehf2.12904. Epub 2020 Jul 23.


Aims: Patients with heart failure (HF) have impaired quality of life (QoL). The randomized controlled trial PHARM-CHF investigated whether an interdisciplinary intervention consisting of regular contacts with the community pharmacy and weekly dosing aids improves medication adherence in patients with HF. It is unknown how an intervention involving frequent structured pharmacy visits affects QoL. Our aim was to explore adherence to the intervention and effects on QoL.

Methods and results: Among 237 patients, n = 110 were randomized to pharmacy care and n = 127 to usual care. The pharmacy care group received a medication review followed by (bi-)weekly dose dispensing and counselling. The median follow-up was 2.0 years [inter-quartile range (IQR) 1.2-2.7]. Median interval between pharmacy visits was 8.4 days (IQR 8.0-10.3) and the visits lasted in median 14 min (IQR 10-15). Median adherence to the intervention was 96% (IQR 84-100). QoL at 365 days was predefined as a main secondary and at 730 days as another secondary endpoint in PHARM-CHF. QoL was measured by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire; and for 111 patients (n = 47 in the pharmacy care group and n = 64 in the usual care group), data were available at baseline, and after 365 and 730 days (mean age 74 years; 41% female). Improvement in QoL was numerically higher in the pharmacy care group after 365 days and was significantly better after 730 days (difference in total scores -7.7 points [-14.5 to -1.0]; P = 0.026) compared to the usual care group. In all subgroups examined, this treatment effect was preserved. Improvements in the physical and emotional dimensions were numerically higher in the pharmacy care group after 365 days and were significantly better after 730 days: -4.0 points [-6.9 to -1.2]; P = 0.006, and -1.9 points [-3.7 to -0.1]; P = 0.039, respectively.

Conclusions: A pharmacy-based interdisciplinary intervention was well received by the patients and suggests clinically important improvements in QoL.

Keywords: Chronic heart failure; Community pharmacy services; Health-related quality of life; Interdisciplinary care; Randomized controlled trial.