Uncontrolled hypertension provides opportunity for pharmacists to help patients

September 6, 2012

Healthcare providers, including pharmacists, missed opportunities between 2003 and 2010 to help nearly 90% of U.S. adults with uncontrolled hypertension who had health insurance, according to an early report released Sept. 4 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Healthcare providers, including pharmacists, missed opportunities between 2003 and 2010 to help nearly 90% of U.S. adults with uncontrolled hypertension who had health insurance, according to an early report released Sept. 4 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

More than 66 million U.S. adults had hypertension between 2003 and 2010, as noted in CDC's Sept. 7th Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Of the adults with hypertension, 35.8 million or 53.5%, did not have their blood pressure under control. More than 39% of the adults who had uncontrolled hypertension were unaware they had the condition. Of those individuals who were aware of the condition, about 45% were being treated with antihypertensive agents and about 16% were not receiving medication.

Hypertension could be a major cardiovascular risk factor and lead to heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases, which combined kill more than 800,000 adults in the United States each year, according to the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

To help patients better manage their hypertension, the APhA and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) announced Sept. 5 their participation in “Team Up. Pressure Down.,” a campaign to help patients control their high blood pressure.

"Team Up. Pressure Down." is a pharmacy-focused CDC program to provide education and counseling to patients about hypertension. The program is a part of Million Hearts, a 2011 U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks by 2017.

"This is a great opportunity for pharmacists and NCPA is proud to be a partner," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, said during the Team Up. Pressure Down. launch event, according to a press release.

"As one of the most accessible healthcare providers, pharmacists can play a significant role in the treatment and prevention of heart disease. Services including blood pressure and lipid monitoring, smoking cessation programs, and patient intervention and reminder systems can play a vital role. Many community pharmacists already provide these services on a daily basis and hopefully this campaign will spur greater awareness and utilization of them."

The CDC reported in May that patient’s hypertension control improved when they had resources, such as a pharmacist, in addition to their primary care physician.

"The increase in programs supporting pharmacists in team-based care models and more patient-focused roles demonstrates the benefits of pharmacists' clinical care services in patient health," said Tom Menighan, APhA CEO and Executive Vice President in a statement.