Pharmacist intervention helps elderly patients

Greater collaboration between pharmacists and doctors can help curtail inappropriate prescribing among older adults, according to new research. The study sample consisted of 50 patients at the University of Kentucky's Alzheimer Disease Center, all of whom received FDA's pamphlet on the need to review drug regimens with health care providers.

Greater collaboration between pharmacists and doctors can help curtail inappropriate prescribing among older adults, according to new research. The study sample consisted of 50 patients at the University of Kentucky's Alzheimer Disease Center, all of whom received FDA's pamphlet on the need to review drug regimens with health care providers. Medication therapy management (MTM) was provided to some participants, but not to others. As part of the intervention, pharmacist-clinician teams gauged the appropriateness of prescribed anticholinergic drugs, which are known to negatively effect people with dementia, and recommended their discontinuation when in the patient's best interest. MTM enhanced anticholinergic appropriateness, the researchers report in Alzheimer's Research and Therapy, which could aid in the development of effective strategies for optimizing medication outcomes in older adults. Surveyed at the end of the study, 74% of participants agreed on the importance of discussing medications with their doctor—up from 60% at the beginning of the study—and 60% felt the same way about talking with pharmacists, nearly double the 32% at the study's onset. "When physicians and pharmacists work together, everyone wins," remarked study co-author Daniela Moga, MD, PhD. "It's clear that including a pharmacist on the patient-care team means better outcomes and better health care for patients."