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Am Heart J. 2008 Jul;156(1):148-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2008.02.009. Epub 2008 Jun 3.

Is long-term pharmacist-managed anticoagulation service efficient? A pragmatic randomized controlled trial.

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Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



Some pharmacist-managed anticoagulation services (PMAS) provide initial follow-up to patients on oral anticoagulant, who are transferred to their physician once they are stabilized. This may be as effective as and less expensive than long-term PMAS follow-up.


Once PMAS patients were stabilized and ready for discharge, they were randomized to be transferred to their physician or stay with the PMAS. Quality of international normalized ratio (INR) control, incidence of complications, health-related quality of life, use of health care services, and direct incremental cost of PMAS follow-up were evaluated.


One hundred thirty-eight physicians and 250 patients participated. Patients were initially followed at the PMAS for a mean of 11.3 weeks and afterwards were followed by their physician (n = 122) or by the PMAS pharmacists (n = 128) for a mean of 14.9 and 14.5 weeks, respectively. Pharmacist-managed anticoagulation services' and physician's patients were within the exact target range 77.3% and 76.7% of the time (95% CI of the difference -4.9% to 6.0%) and within the extended range 93.0% and 91.6% of the time (95% CI -2.1% to 4.7%), respectively. Pharmacist-managed anticoagulation services patients have seen their family physician less often (95% CI -3.1 to -0.1 visit per year). Number of INR tests, incidence of complications, and health-related quality of life were similar in both groups. The incremental cost of PMAS follow-up was estimated at CAN$123.80 per patient year.


Once PMAS patients are well stabilized, maintaining a PMAS follow-up or transferring them to their physician is associated with excellent INR control. However, long-term PMAS follow-up may be more expensive.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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