A Randomized Trial of the Effect of Pharmacist Prescribing on Improving Blood Pressure in the Community: The Alberta Clinical Trial in Optimizing Hypertension (RxACTION)
Background—Hypertension control rates remain suboptimal. Pharmacists' scope of practice is evolving and their position in the community may be ideal for improving hypertension care. We aimed to study the impact of pharmacist prescribing on blood pressure (BP) control in community-dwelling patients.
Methods and Results—We designed a patient-level randomized controlled trial, enrolling adults with above-target BP (as defined by Canadian guidelines), through community pharmacies, hospitals, or primary care teams in 23 communities in Alberta. Intervention group patients received an assessment of BP and cardiovascular risk, education on hypertension, prescribing of antihypertensive medications, laboratory monitoring, and monthly follow-up visits for 6 months (all by their pharmacist). Control group patients received a wallet card for BP recording, written hypertension information, and usual care from their pharmacist and physician. Primary outcome was the change in systolic BP at 6 months. A total of 248 patients (mean age 64 years, 49% male) were enrolled. Baseline mean (SD) systolic/diastolic BP was 150(14)/84(11) mm Hg. The intervention group had a mean (SE) reduction in systolic BP at 6 months of 18.3 (1.2) compared with 11.8 (1.9) in the control group, an adjusted difference of 6.6 (1.9) mmHg (p=0.0006). The adjusted odds of patients achieving BP targets was 2.32 (95% CI 1.17, 4.15 in favor of the intervention).
Conclusions—Pharmacist prescribing for patients with hypertension resulted in a clinically important and statistically significant reduction in BP. Policymakers should consider an expanded role for pharmacists, including prescribing, to address the burden of hypertension.
Clinical Trial Registration Information—clinicaltrials.gov; Identifier: NCT00878566.
- Received January 18, 2015.
- Revision received May 4, 2015.
- Accepted May 6, 2015.