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Face-to-Face Pharmacist Counseling Drives Improved Medication Adherence for New High Cholesterol Patients

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 9:00 AM

A new Walgreens (NYSE: WAG)(NASDAQ: WAG) study has found that patients starting high cholesterol (statin) medication for the first time who participated in enhanced face-to-face counseling sessions with a community pharmacist demonstrated better medication adherence than those that did not participate in the sessions. Non-adherence is an especially important issue for high cholesterol patients, as it places them at a greater risk of complications from heart disease. The study, titled The impact of pharmacist face-to-face counseling to improve medication adherence among patients initiating statin therapy, 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 two 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. At Walgreens, our goal is to help our patients stay well while reducing overall health care costs and programs that address the significant issue of prescription medication non-adherence are a crucial element of this.”

To conduct the study, a group of more than 2,000 patients new to statin therapy were followed for 12 months. After inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied, the intervention group consisted of 586 patients, and the comparison group comprised 516 patients. Pharmacists trained in brief motivational interviewing conducted counseling sessions that addressed barriers to adherence for statin patients, such as perceptions of the value of the therapy, fear of side effects and simple forgetfulness or establishing a routine to take medication.

Outcomes were measured using three metrics evaluating adherence: continuous medication possession ratio (MPR), categorical MPR and medication persistency.


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