HEALTH

Care teams including pharmacists better manage high blood pressure

BY Michael Johnsen

IOWA CITY, Iowa — If you have hypertension, it pays to include a pharmacist in a medical-care team.
 
That's the upshot from research by the University of Iowa that found patients with uncontrolled hypertension had better blood-pressure control when being cared for by pharmacists working in care teams (with a physician, for example), than patients who relied mostly on a doctor for medication guidance.
 
The researchers showed pharmacist-included care teams delivered more hands-on and tailored medication regimens to patients, which yielded more effective blood-pressure control results than for those patients who did not have a pharmacist on hand.
 
UI pharmacy research associate Tyler Gums will present the findings Monday at the American Society of Hypertension annual conference in New York.
 
The results come from two studies done by research teams led by Barry Carter, UI pharmacy professor.
 
For the study, UI researchers enrolled 625 patients from various racial backgrounds with uncontrolled hypertension from 32 medical offices across 15 states in the United States. They then evaluated how well patients were able to control their blood pressure when getting care from a medical team that included a pharmacist compared to being treated by a physician only. The study took place between March 2010 and June 2013.
 
The researchers measured patients' blood pressure control, the degree and intensity of care they received and how well they followed medication recommendations.
 
The UI team found that patients who saw a medical team that included a clinical pharmacist showed a systolic blood pressure drop of 6.1 mmHg nine months later compared to those who did not see a clinical pharmacist during the same time. A reduction of that scale would reduce the chances of death by stroke by 23%, the researchers noted. "That means, if you saw a care team with a clinical pharmacist, your blood pressure was more likely to be lower," said Gums, a postdoctoral researcher in the UI College of Pharmacy.
 
Moreover, patients in the pharmacist-included care teams had their medications adjusted an average of 4.9 times during the nine-month period, of which three instances involved dose increases or added medications, according to the study.
 
Patients who saw physicians only averaged one adjusted medication and less than one instance of dose increases or added medications in the same period, the researchers found.
 
"Clinical pharmacists were able to contribute to the care team by tailoring blood pressure medications for each patient and spent extra time educating patients on how to decrease their blood pressure," Gums explained.
 
The researchers found patients in the pharmacist-included care teams did not follow their medication recommendations more readily than the control group. Further research is needed to understand why.
 
The National Institutes of Health funded the work.
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Nascent market for connected wearable patches holds great promise

BY Michael Johnsen

BOULDER, Colo. — According to a new report from Tractica released Monday, worldwide unit shipments of clinical and non-clinical connected wearable patches (not wearable devices) will grow to 12.3 million annually by 2020, up from just 67,000 in 2014. During that period, the market intelligence firm forecasts that the market for such patches will increase to $3.3 billion annually.
 
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Ferndale launches RectiCare Medicated Anorectal Wipes

BY Michael Johnsen

FERNDALE, Mich. – Ferndale Healthcare recently introduced RectiCare Medicated Anorectal Wipes. Formulated with lidocaine 5% and glycerin 20%, these dual-action wipes provide effective relief from the pain, itching and discomfort of hemorrhoids and other anorectal disorders, while also forming a protective coating over inflamed tissues to temporarily protect irritated and inflamed perianal skin. 
 
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