Monday, April 02, 2007

Results of the FAME Trial: Improved Pharmacy Care = Improved Patient Outcomes

You're over 65 and you've been prescribed to take at least 4 medications for chronic conditions each day, at various times throughout the day. Do you take them religiously?

The Federal Study of Adherence to Medications in the Elderly (FAME) was born out of the notion that many people, especially the elderly, fail to adhere to their prescribed drug regimen, leading to a higher risk for hospitalization and higher health care costs.

FAME researchers enlisted 200 men and women who fit the description above (>65, 4 meds). After measuring their usual adherence during a 2-month run-in phase, they placed them on a comprehensive pharmacy care program.

The program had three elements:
  • An initial 1 hour meeting with a pharmacist to provide education on prescribed medications.
  • Dispensing of medications in daily, time-specific blister packs (a replacement for separate bottles).
  • Follow-up 1/2 hour meetings with the pharmacist every 2 months.
Might your adherence improve if your meds were dispensed in individualized disposable blister packs, sorted by time of day, and day of month? Here's an example of a blister pack of medications used in the study:

Study Findings

During the run-in phase, only 61% of participants were taking their medications as prescribed. During the 6-month pharmacy care intervention, this figure jumped to 97%.

As a result of the improved adherence, clinically significant improvements were seen in blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels.

Although there would be an initial cost for pharmacist involvement and individualized drug packaging, the improvements in medication adherence, and subsequent patient health ... not to mention savings in healthcare costs ... may foster adoption of these changes in the future.


For a summary of the study:
Federal Study of Adherence to Medications (FAME): Impact of a Medication Adherence Program on Control of Lipids and Blood Pressure

Info on FAME clinical trial:
Federal Study of Adherence to Medications in the Elderly (FAME)

Source for photo and graphs: American College of Cardiology Foundation @