Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Pharmacists prescribing reduces CV risk

Dr. Ross Tsuyuki

NOVEMBER 2016 - According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular (CV) disease remains the number one cause of mortality worldwide, accounting for 17.5 million deaths annually. Yet a recent study published in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal shows that pharmacists prescribing can dramatically help patients reach their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol goals.

Led by Dr. Ross Tsuyuki, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Epidemiology Coordinating and Research Centre (EPICORE) at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, the RxACT study found that pharmacists prescribing resulted in >3-fold more patients reaching their LDL targets compared to usual care. The study, conducted in 14 community pharmacies in Alberta, also revealed that by using a systematic, case-finding approach, pharmacists could efficiently identify those patients with inadequately treated dyslipidemia risk. 

This is the fourth in a series of studies, partially funded by CFP, evaluating the impact of pharmacist prescribing, all of which have shown positive results. “This study, along with RxING (which showed improvement of patient’s HbA1c by 1.8%), RxACTION (which improved blood pressure by 6.6 -18.3 mmHg) and the RxEACH (21% reduction in risk for major CV events), clearly demonstrates that patient care is improved when pharmacists apply their advanced scope of practice,” says Tsuyuki. “If policymakers, including pharmacy advocacy organizations and ministries of health, are truly serious about tackling the burden of cardiovascular diseases, they should strongly consider expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists.”

Tsuyuki says to stay tuned for more research papers coming soon on patient satisfaction levels around pharmacist care, as well as health economic analyses around pharmacist prescribing.