The impact of telepharmacy on hypertension management in the United Arab Emirates

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Telepharmacy, Hypertension, Community pharmacies


Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of telepharmacy services delivered by community pharmacies in hypertension management and examine its influence on pharmacists’ ability to identify drug-related problems (DRPs). Methods: This was a 2-arm, randomised, clinical trial conducted among 16 community pharmacies and 239 patients with uncontrolled HTN in the U.A.E over a period of 12 months. The first arm (n=119) received telepharmacy services and the second arm (n=120) received traditional pharmaceutical services. Both arms were followed up to 12 months. Pharmacists self-reported the study outcomes, which primarily were the changes in SBP and DBP from baseline to 12-month meeting. Blood pressure readings were taken at baseline, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Other outcomes were the mean knowledge, medication adherence and DRP incidence and types. The frequency and nature of pharmacist interventions in both groups were also reported. Results: The mean SBP and DBP differences were statistically significant across the study groups at 3-, 6-, and 9-month follow-up and 3-, 6-, 9-, 12- month follow-up, respectively. In detail, the mean SBP was reduced from 145.9 mm Hg in the intervention group (IG) and 146.7 mm Hg in the control group (CG) to 124.5, 123.2, 123.5, and 124.9 mm Hg at 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month follow-up in the IG and 135.9, 133.8, 133.7, and 132.4 mm Hg at 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month follow-up in the CG. The mean DBP was reduced from 84.3 mm Hg in IG and 85.1 mm Hg in CG to 77.6, 76.2, 76.1, and 77.8 mm Hg at 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month follow-up in the IG and 82.3, 81.5, 81.5, and 81.9 mm Hg at 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month follow-up in the CG. Medication adherence and knowledge of participants in the IG towards hypertension were significantly improved. The DRP incidence and DRPs per patient identified by pharmacists in the intervention and control groups were 2.1% versus 1.0% (p=0.002) and 0.6 versus 0.3 (p=0.001), respectively. The total numbers of pharmacist interventions in the IG and CG were 331 and 196, respectively. The proportions of pharmacist interventions related to patient education, cessation of drug therapy, adjustment of drug dose, and addition of drug therapy across the IG and CG were 27.5% versus 20.9%, 15.4% versus 18.9%, 14.5% versus 14.8%, and 13.9% versus 9.7%, respectively (all with p<0.05). Conclusion: Telepharmacy may have a sustained effect for up to 12 months on blood pressure of patients with hypertension. This intervention also improves pharmacists’ ability to identify and prevent drug-related problems in community setting.

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