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Doctor-Pharmacist Teams Boost Blood Pressure Control
Date:11/23/2009

Partnerships doubled number of patients who reined in their hypertension, study found,,

MONDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- High blood pressure is better controlled by doctor-pharmacist teams working hand-in-hand than by doctors and pharmacists working alone, a new study shows.

"When physicians work with pharmacists, medications are intensified, dosages increased, medications used more effectively," said Barry L. Carter, a professor in the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy and lead author of a report in the Nov. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. "Medication compliance is lesser reason for the improvement."

The journal report describes a study in which 402 people treated for high blood pressure at six clinics were divided into two groups. One group got the usual high blood pressure treatment, in which a prescription is written based on the doctor's measurement of blood pressure, and a pharmacist simply fills the prescription.

The other group was treated by doctor-pharmacist teams in which the pharmacists were trained to assess participants' blood pressure and adjust both the kind of drugs prescribed and the dosage of those drugs.

After six months, blood pressure had dropped to the recommended level in 30 percent of the participants in the traditional treatment group, while 64 percent of those treated by a pharmacist-physician team achieved the goal.

Is such a team approach possible in ordinary medical practice? Carter said it's already being done in some special settings -- by managed care organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, Veterans Affairs, and a number of academic health centers.

"A minority of patients now have access to such care, but that could change as the health-care system changes," he said.

But he said it's also possible in the usual setting of medical care, in which one doctor is responsible for an individual's care, Carter said. "The
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