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Pharmacotherapy. 2009 Dec;29(12):1433-40. doi: 10.1592/phco.29.12.1433.

Reduced drug use and hospitalization rates in patients undergoing hemodialysis who received pharmaceutical care: a 2-year, randomized, controlled study.

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ANephRx-Albany Nephrology Pharmacy Group, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Albany, New York 12208, USA.



To investigate the impact of a pharmaceutical care program managed by clinical pharmacists on drug use, drug costs, hospitalization rates, and drug-related problems (DRPs) in ambulatory patients undergoing hemodialysis.


Prospective, randomized, controlled, longitudinal, 2-year pilot study.


Nonprofit university-affiliated dialysis clinic.


One hundred four patients older than 18 years with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who were undergoing a stable hemodialysis regimen for at least 3 months.


Patients were randomly assigned to receive either pharmaceutical care, consisting of one-on-one care, with in-depth drug therapy reviews conducted by a clinical pharmacist (57 patients), or standard of care, consisting of brief drug therapy reviews conducted by a nurse (47 patients).


Baseline data on demographic and clinical characteristics were collected. Mean numbers of concomitant drugs, drug costs, hospitalization rates, and lengths of stay were compared between the groups. In the pharmaceutical care group, DRPs were identified and recorded. Baseline age, length of time receiving hemodialysis, and etiology of ESRD were not significantly different between the groups. Mean number of concomitant drugs at baseline was similar between the groups. At the end of the 2-year follow-up, pharmaceutical care was associated with a significant decrease of 14% fewer drugs compared with standard of care, as documented during each drug therapy review (p<0.05). There were significantly fewer all-cause hospitalizations among patients assigned to pharmaceutical care compared with those receiving standard of care (mean +/- SD 1.8 +/- 2.4 vs 3.1 +/- 3 hospitalizations, p=0.02), and the cumulative time hospitalized was shorter in the pharmaceutical care group compared with the standard of care group (9.7 +/- 14.7 vs 15.5 +/- 16.3 days, p=0.06). During the study period, 530 DRPs were identified and resolved.


Identification and resolution of DRPs through pharmaceutical care resulted in decreased drug use and costs for patients undergoing hemodialysis. Hospitalization rates were significantly lower in the pharmaceutical care group, with a trend toward shorter duration. Provision of pharmaceutical care is associated with tangible benefits on outcomes in ambulatory patients undergoing hemodialysis and should be considered in health care policy decisions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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