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Pharmacist Support Boosts Anticoagulation Adherence

In study, almost 30 percent of people with atrial fibrillation didn't use dabigatran as instructed

TUESDAY, April 14, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The intervention of a local pharmacist could help improve adherence to newer anticoagulants, according to research published in the April 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A team led by Mintu Turakhia, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., looked at the use of dabigatran (Pradaxa) by Veterans Administration (VA) outpatients who were prescribed the drug between 2010 and 2012.

The researchers found that of the 5,376 patients who got a prescription for dabigatran, about 28 percent failed to take the drug as instructed. However, appropriate patient selection and provision of pharmacist-led monitoring were associated with better patient adherence (relative risks, 1.14 and 1.25, respectively). Longer duration of monitoring and provision of more intensive care to nonadherent patients in collaboration with the clinician were also found to improve adherence.

The study authors pointed out that newer medications such as dabigatran come in fixed doses and patients who take them don't need to have regular blood tests -- so many health experts have assumed that patients wouldn't need to be monitored. However, this study shows that monitoring and support from pharmacists significantly boosts proper use of this class of drugs.

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