Context: Poor medication adherence diminishes the health benefits of pharmacotherapies. Elderly patients with coronary risk factors frequently require treatment with multiple medications, placing them at increased risk for nonadherence. Objective: To test the efficacy of a comprehensive pharmacy care program to improve medication adherence and its associated effects on blood pressure (BP) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Design, Setting, and Patients: A multiphase, prospective study with an observational phase and a randomized controlled trial conducted at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center of 200 community-based patients aged 65 years or older taking at least 4 chronic medications. The study was conducted from June 2004 to August 2006. Intervention: After a 2-month run-in phase (measurement of baseline adherence, BP, and LDL-C), patients entered a 6-month intervention phase (standardized medication education, regular follow-up by pharmacists, and medications dispensed in time-specific packs). Following the intervention phase, patients were randomized to continued pharmacy care vs usual care for an additional 6 months. Main Outcome Measures: Primary end point of the observation phase was change in the proportion of pills taken vs baseline; secondary end points were the associated changes in BP and LDL-C. Primary end point of the randomization phase was the between-group comparison of medication persistence. Results: Atotal of 200 elderly patients (77.1% men;mean[SD] age, 78 [8.3] years), taking a mean (SD) of 9 (3) chronic medications were enrolled. Coronary risk factors included drug-treated hypertension in184patients (91.5%)anddrug-treated hyperlipidemia in162 (80.6%). Mean (SD) baseline medication adherence was61.2%(13.5%). After 6 months of intervention, medication adherence increased to 96.9% (5.2%; P<.001) and was associated with significant improvements in systolic BP (133.2 [14.9] to 129.9 [16.0] mm Hg; P=.02) and LDL-C (91.7 [26.1] to 86.8 [23.4] mg/dL; P=.001). Six months after randomization, the persistence of medication adherence decreased to69.1%(16.4%)among those patients assigned to usual care, whereas it was sustained at 95.5% (7.7%) in pharmacy care (P<.001). This was associated with significant reductions in systolic BP in the pharmacy care group (-6.9 mm Hg; 95% CI, -10.7 to -3.1 mm Hg) vs the usual care group (-1.0 mm Hg; 95% CI, -5.9 to 3.9 mm Hg; P=.04), but no significant between-group differences in LDL-C levels or reductions. Conclusions: A pharmacy care program led to increases in medication adherence, medication persistence, and clinically meaningful reductions in BP, whereas discontinuation of the program was associated with decreased medication adherence and persistence.
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