PHARM-CHF Trial Finds Medication Adherence & QOL Better in Heart Failure Patients Who Visit Pharmacist

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The PHARM-CHF randomized controlled trial was presented this week at Heart Failure 2019, a scientific conference, as reported by Pharmacy Times.

The Study

The PHARM-CHF trial reviewed data from 237 ambulatory patients with chronic heart failure aged 60 years and over who were randomly assigned to usual care or a pharmacy intervention, and follow-up for a median of 2 years. The average age was 74 years, 62% male and the median number of different medications was 9.


The intervention started with a medication review. Patients brought their medications to a pharmacists who made a medication plan, checked for drug interactions and double medications, and contacted the physician about any risks. Patients then visited the pharmacy every 8 days to discuss adherence and symptoms, and have their blood pressure checked and pulse rate measurements collected. Drugs were provided in a pillbox with compartments for morning, noon, evening and night on each day. The pharmacist updated the medication plan if needed and contacted their physician with new drug-related problems or significant changes in vital signs.


Improvement in quality of life was more pronounced in the pharmacy group after 1 year and significantly better compared to the usual care group after 2 years. This meant patients in the pharmacy group were less limited in their daily activities and less worried about their disease.

Professor and co-principal investigator, Marin Schulz, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany said in a press release that “Adhering to a complex medication regimen is a huge challenge for elderly patients with heart failure” and continued IT is estimated that 30% to 50% of patients in Europe are nonadherent to heart failure medications which results in increased frequency and severity of symptoms such as breathlessness, worsening heart failure and consequent hospitalizations, and higher mortality.”