May 27, 2015
Hypertension Better Controlled With Pharmacist on a Team

Iowa City, IA—Adding a pharmacist to a medical team gave hypertension patients more hands-on care and more customized medication regimens than if the care was primarily provided by a physician.

That’s according to a new University of Iowa (UI) study that found uncontrolled hypertension was better managed in patients treated by a team including a pharmacist. The research was presented at the recent American Society of Hypertension annual conference in New York.

For the study, UI researchers enrolled 625 uncontrolled hypertension patients from 32 medical offices across 15 states. The study from March 2010 to June 2013 then looked at how well patients were able to control their blood pressure when getting care from a medical team that included a pharmacist, compared to being treated by a physician only.

Blood pressure control, the degree and intensity of care participants received, and how well they followed medication recommendations were all tracked.

Compared to those solely receiving physician care, patients who saw a medical team that included a clinical pharmacist showed a systolic blood pressure drop of 6.1 mmHg 9 months later, according to the study, which noted that a blood pressure reduction of that amount would reduce the chances of death by stroke by 23%.

“That means, if you saw a care team with a clinical pharmacist, your blood pressure was more likely to be lower,” said UI postdoctoral pharmacy research associate Tyler Gums, PharmD.

What caused the drop? One possible answer is that patients treated by a team with a pharmacist had their medications adjusted an average of 4.9 times during the 9-month period, of which three instances involved dose increases or added medications, according to the researchers. At the same time, patients who saw physicians only averaged one adjusted medication and less than one instance of dose increases or added medications in the same period.

“Clinical pharmacists were able to contribute to the care team by tailoring blood pressure medications for each patient and spent extra time educating patients on how to decrease their blood pressure,” Gums explained.

Involving a pharmacist in care did not increase medication adherence, however, and study authors called for more research to find out why.


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