Magazine article Drug Topics

Impacting Cholesterol

Magazine article Drug Topics

Impacting Cholesterol

Article excerpt

Pharmacists hit hyperlipidemia home run in pilot project

Community pharmacists participating in the national Project ImPACT: Hyperlipidemia pilot study have helped boost medication compliance rates to stratospheric levels and helped more patients hit their target lipid levels.

Among 469 patients enrolled by the 29 community pharmacies in Project ImPACT, 84.3% were compliant with their medication therapy, and 84% were still taking their medications as of last Dec. 31, according to an interim report issued by the American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA) Foundation at a press conference held in Washington, D.C., last month. The 84% compliance rate more than doubled the 40% rate in another hyperlipidemia study.

The data also showed that, after an average of 14 months in the program, 44.3% of the patients had reached their National Cholesterol Education Program lipid goals as of their last visit to the pharmacist. The 44% success rate was much higher than that for other studies in which 8% to 33% of patients had achieved their lipid goals. The Foundation study is funded by a Merck & Co. unrestricted educational grant.

"This collaborative practice model shows great promise for improving patient care," said Benjamin Bluml, R.Ph., APhA Foundation senior director for research. "An 84% compliance rate at midpoint in the study is really extraordinary. The Project ImPACT pharmacists, patients, and physicians who all worked together have done an extraordinary job of helping us to demonstrate how ... we can improve health-care delivery in this country."

Participating in Project ImPACT took a commitment from the corporate headquarters of Ukrops, said Kim Malone, an R.Ph. in one of the chain's grocery stores in Richmond, Va. It also took some juggling of staff schedules and positioning technicians to take on more dispensing responsibility so that the pharmacist could interact with patients. Malone added that the project has been a catalyst for more disease state management programs, including asthma, diabetes, and smoking cessation.

"The project has been extremely rewarding," said Malone. "The support from the Foundation has allowed us increased visibility as pharmacists working to improve our practice and focusing on the ultimate goal of educating patients, improving their outcomes, and motivating them to stay compliant. It's a challenge, but you can do it if you have a great staff."

Using a collaborative care approach, Project ImPACT pharmacists track a patient's cholesterol using the Cholestech LDX to analyze blood obtained from a finger stick. …

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