-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, Nov. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- People who are
hospitalized for a heart attack or angina are more likely to take
their medication properly once they leave the hospital if they
receive personal attention from a pharmacist, new research
One-third of these heart patients typically stop taking at least
one of their medications just one month after being discharged from
the hospital. But the researchers found cost-effective programs
that include patient education, collaboration between doctors and
pharmacists, and voicemail reminders can help more patients stick
to their treatment plans.
The study looked at 241 patients from four U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs medical centers across the United States. The
researchers, led by Dr. P. Michael Ho, of the Denver VA Medical
Center, randomly assigned the patients to receive typical care or a
personalized care program. The program included counseling with a
pharmacist, information about their treatment and reminders to take
In the year after patients were discharged from the hospital,
the researchers tracked how many followed their treatment plan. In
addition, the patients were checked to see how many had blood
pressure and cholesterol levels within a set target range.
The investigators found that only 74 percent of the patients who
received typical care followed their treatment plan compared with
over 89 percent of those who were in the personalized care
However, there was no difference between the two groups in the
percentage who had blood pressure and cholesterol levels that were
in the desired target range.
The study was published online Nov. 18 in the journal
JAMA Internal Medicine.
The personalized care program cost roughly $360 per patient, the
study authors noted.
The researchers pointed out that more studies are needed to
understand the impact of helping patients adhere to their treatment
For patients who already have high rates of taking of their
medications, providing a personalized treatment plan for three to
five years, or even longer, may not really improve outcomes,
JAMA Internal Medicineeditor Dr. Rita Redberg noted in a
journal news release.
"Before recommending investment in this strategy, it would be prudent to know that patient outcomes will actually improve," Redberg said.
The American Heart Association has more about
acute coronary syndrome.
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