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AHA: Pharmacy Program Helps Elderly Adhere to Medications

Custom daily-dosed blister packs improve adherence, clinical outcome

MONDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A pharmacy care program that includes custom blister-packed medications helps elderly patients adhere to their chronic medications better than usual care, according to a report released online Nov. 13 by the Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings were presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in Chicago.

Allen J. Taylor, M.D., and colleagues at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., conducted a multiphase trial to test the efficacy of the customized program on medication adherence and clinical measures in the elderly. The study included 200 patients taking a mean of nine medications, many of which were for hypertension and hyperlipidemia.

Medication adherence improved from 61.2 percent at baseline to 96.9 percent after six months of the treatment program, and showed significant improvements in systolic blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Patients then randomized to continue the program sustained high levels of adherence while those switched to usual care dropped to 69.1 percent adherence after another six months and had higher blood pressures.

The results suggest that programs like these should improve health outcomes in at-risk populations such as the elderly, the authors note. In an accompanying editorial, Ross J. Simpson, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., writes, "Multifaceted interventions that incorporate structural and counseling components and include appropriately skilled and motivated pharmacists appear useful to promote medication adherence and persistence."

Taylor reports receiving grant support and honoraria from various pharmaceutical companies.

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