Research Roundup

Debbie Rigby presents the latest research news relevant to pharmacists

Polypharmacy and effects of apixaban versus warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation

A sub-hoc analysis of the ARISTOTLE trial has shown three-quarters of patients had polypharmacy; and this subgroup had an increased comorbidity, more interacting drugs, increased mortality, and higher rates of thromboembolic and bleeding complications. In patients with atrial fibrillation and polypharmacy, apixaban was more effective than warfarin, and is at least just as safe.

BMJ 2016;353:i2868


Implementation and evaluation of a pharmacist-led hypertension management service in primary care: outcomes and methodological challenges

A prospective, controlled study undertaken within the Australian primary care setting has found that a collaborative, pharmacist-led hypertension management service can help monitor BP, improve medication adherence, and optimise therapy in a step-wise approach. The study highlights the contribution of BP screening to effecting behaviour change in patients, particularly through adherence to medication.

Pharmacy Practice 2016 Jan-Mar;14(2):723.


Old age, high risk medication, polypharmacy: a trilogy of risks in older patients with atrial fibrillation

This study reviewed the extent of polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use in older patients (65 years or older, n=367) with AF. Most patients were taking 5 medications or more and over half used 10 medications or more. Cardiovascular agents were most commonly used, followed by antithrombotics. Digoxin, benzodiazepines and sotalol were the most commonly prescribed PIMs.

Pharmacy Practice 2016 Jan-Mar;14(2):706.


Assessment and management of serotonin syndrome in a simulated patient study of Australian community pharmacies

This article presents the results of a mystery shopper intervention identifying potential serotonin syndrome. The potential for serotonin syndrome was identified by 35.1% of pharmacies. Around one-third of pharmacies recommended that the simulated patient should cease taking the offending agent (tramadol). The study highlighted the importance of taking a comprehensive medication history when assessing a set of symptoms.

Pharmacy Practice 2016 Jan-Mar;14(2):703.


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