American Heart Association: Pharmacists can help heart failure patients with recommended doses of appropriate drugs

January 1, 2012

Even though a new study did not show a correlation between pharmacist intervention and hospitalization and death rates for heart failure patients, the Heart Failure and Optimal Outcomes from Pharmacy Study (HOOPS) is an important study.

Even though a new study did not show a correlation between pharmacist intervention and hospitalization and death rates for heart failure patients, the Heart Failure and Optimal Outcomes from Pharmacy Study (HOOPS) is an important study.

In the HOOPS, presented at the mid-November American Heart Association's (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2011, in Orlando, Fla., non-specialist pharmacists were matched up with outpatient heart failure patients.

Researchers with the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Service in Scotland, UK, randomly assigned 1,092 patients to receive additional attention from a pharmacist collaborating with physicians. The pharmacists met with patients once to review their medications and ensure they had prescriptions for recommended medicines. In other centers, 1,077 patients received routine family physician care without the additional pharmacist input.

"Even though pharmacists didn't cut the number of deaths or hospitalizations from heart failure, the results appear to strengthen the case for optimizing heart failure drugs. Other studies have shown these drugs can reduce heart failure hospitalizations," said Richard Lowrie, MSc, MPC, the study's lead researchers and lead long-term conditions/research pharmacist at the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Service.

Mariell Jessup, MD, professor of medicine at the Pennsylvania School of Medicine and medical director of the Pennsylvania Heart and Vascular Center, agrees that the study is valuable. Dr Jessup took part in a discussion of the study at the AHA meeting.

"It highlights the need for a multi-disciplinary team. We don't always have that kind of luxury in the United States. In the United Kingdom there is a pharmacist dispensing medications in each medical office," Dr Jessup said. In the future, the researchers may add more pharmacist interventions to expand the scope of the research, Dr Jessup added.