Walgreens: Pharmacist face-time aids statin adherence

June 5, 2012
From staff reports

Patients taking statins for the first time demonstrated better medication adherence if they participated in face-to-face counseling sessions with a community pharmacist than patients who did not, according to a new study by Walgreens.

Patients taking statins for the first time demonstrated better medication adherence if they participated in face-to-face counseling sessions with a community pharmacist than patients who did not, according to a new study by Walgreens.

The study was published in April in the online journal, Patient Preference and Adherence.

“This study demonstrates the power of face-to-face pharmacist interactions,” said Jeff Kang, MD, Walgreens senior vice president of health and wellness services and solutions. “Just 2 sessions focused on barriers to adherence for patients taking a new medicine for high cholesterol helped them establish a routine for adhering to their treatment. As a result, these patients potentially improved their long-term health outcomes.”

Researchers followed a group of more than 1,000 patients new to statin therapy for 12 months. Pharmacists conducted counseling sessions for the intervention group, addressing barriers to adherence, such as perceptions of the value of the therapy, fear of side effects, forgetfulness, and following a routine to take medication.

The study found that at 12 months:

The intervention group (586 patients) had an average adherence of 61.8% versus 56.9% for the comparison group (516 patients).

40.9% of the intervention group versus 33.7% of comparison group achieved 80% adherence.

43.9% of the intervention group versus 38.2% of comparison group continued taking their statin medication.

The results were consistent with previous counseling research by Walgreens and others, which showed:

Face-to-face pharmacy programs increased patient access to clinicians and improved physician coordination.

Face-to-face intervention programs for diabetes produced a statistically significant reduction in levels for A1C, blood pressure, and LDL.

Educating at-risk patients on the importance of receiving a pneumococcal vaccination increased immunizations by 68%.

11% of hospital admissions and 40% of nursing home admissions are attributable to medication nonadherence.