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Study Finds Letter to Health Care Providers Results in Reduction of Potentially Unsafe Concurrent Use of Plavix and Proton Pump Inhibitors
Date:4/18/2011

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A letter sent by a commercial insurer to health care providers notifying them of potentially unsafe drug use when combining anti-clotting drug clopidogrel (Plavix®) with a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), showed a significant reduction in the number of members combining the drugs, according to a new study by pharmacy benefit management thought leader Prime Therapeutics (Prime). Details of the study will be presented on April 29th at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy's 23rd Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minn.

Recent data has shown the use of some PPIs, commonly prescribed to reduce gastric acid production, in combination with clopidogrel, an antiplatelet medication used to prevent stroke and heart attack, can increase a person's risk for clopidogrel failure and a subsequent cardiac event. Current guidelines suggest providers re-evaluate the need for PPI therapy in patients taking clopidogrel and consider recommending another type of heartburn medication as an alternative treatment.

Researchers from Prime and one of its Blue Cross and Blue Shield clients used a retrospective drug utilization review to analyze claims data from a 1.3 million member commercial insurer. From this, researchers determined 1,316 members were actively combining clopidogrel with a PPI. A letter was then sent to health care providers alerting them of the potentially unsafe drug use and requesting the provider re-evaluate the need for PPI therapy in their patients. The study also tracked a control group of 2,740 patients who met intervention criteria but whose providers did not receive a letter.

At 180 days post-letter, actively enrolled members in both groups were assessed for the presence of a PPI, clopidogrel, or both. This analysis showed a significant absolute 7.5 percentage point reduction in the number of members who were combining PPIs and clopidogrel when they received the letter, compared to the control group.
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SOURCE Prime Therapeutics
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