Monitoring and screening COPD in community pharmacies: experimentation in Italy

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Francesca Baratta
Irene Pignata
Roberta Onorati
Roberto Gnavi
Giuseppe Costa
Paola Brusa
Teresa Spadea


Community pharmacy, Adherence, Case study, Counselling, COPD


Objective: COPD is one of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The health and economic burden of COPD may in part be reduced by early disease case finding and a correct therapy. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of a community pharmacy programme for COPD case finding among previously undiagnosed subjects and for monitoring and enhancing adherence to prescribed pharmacological therapies among patients with confirmed COPD. Methods: The intervention was conducted in hundred community pharmacies in Piedmont (northwest Italy) and developed in two different arms: a case finding one through the administration of a specific questionnaire and the spirometry measurement and the adherence one through the administration of a questionnaire exploring the impact of the disease and the therapy adherence. Persons considered at risk to develop the COPD disease or non-controlled patients were referred to the GP or were invited to return in the pharmacy for a follow-up interview. Results: Overall, 844 subjects, out of 934 enrolled, completed the baseline interview. 103 subjects (25.7% of the 401 enrolled in the case finding arm) were considered at risk of suffering from COPD. Lower educated subjects and those without social support were more frequently at very high risk. Five returned to the pharmacy with a confirmed medical diagnosis. Among the 443 patients interviewed we found non-adherence value (depending on the drug) varying from 31% to 46%. A significant protection from non-adherence to bronchodilators was found among patients with comorbidities and among people living alone. Conclusions: We showed that opportunistic screening for COPD is feasible in community pharmacies. Concerning adherence to therapy in pharmacies, it would be necessary to identify different methods of enrolment in order to involve only those patients who are less adherent or who have difficulties in the management of therapy and chronic pathology

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