A new study published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA) found that medication adherence improved in patients with chronic conditions who participated in appointment-based medication synchronization programs.


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APhA: Appointment-based medication synchronization aids adherence

December 3rd, 2013

WASHINGTON – A new study published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA) found that medication adherence improved in patients with chronic conditions who participated in appointment-based medication synchronization programs.

APhA said Monday that the study described how patient adherence and persistence with chronic medications can be improved by allowing patients to meet with a pharmacist to solve medication-related problems and synchronize prescriptions to be dispensed on one day of the month.

Compared with patients in the control group, those in the appointment-based medication synchronization group had a 3.4 to 6.1 times greater likelihood of adhering to their prescriptions compared with control patients.

What's more, researchers found that control patients were 52% to 73% more likely to stop taking their chronic medications over one year.

The study is the first to assess the impact of appointment-based medication synchronization in community pharmacies.

"This research shows appointment-based medication synchronization to be one of the most effective interventions available to help patients take their medications," lead study author David Holdford, professor and vice chair of graduate education at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, said in a statement. "Widespread implementation in pharmacies across the U.S. can have a major impact on patient health."

The study, which appears in the November/December issue of JAPhA, revealed that while medication synchronization can help remind patients, provide updates on their progress, simplify the process and make refills more convenient, the monthly appointment enables pharmacists to educate, engage, and solve problems.

Appointment-based medication synchronization (ABMS) also yields other benefits, the research showed.

In contrast to the typical prescription-filling process, during which pharmacists react to patient needs, the ABMS program allows pharmacists to proactively manage patients' medication-related needs. The appointments provide an opportunity for pharmacists and patients to discuss issues such as physical impairments, lack of affordability, low literacy and lack of social support. In addition, synchronization can free pharmacists to provide medication therapy management and additional clinical services.

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