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Improving Adherence and Clinical Outcomes Through an HIV Pharmacist's Interventions

March 25, 2011

The assistance of an HIV clinical pharmacist can benefit patients in terms of regimen complexity, adherence and immunologic and virologic outcomes, the authors of the current study report.

Though antiretroviral therapy (ARV) can effectively suppress HIV and boost immunologic response, most patients struggle with adherence, the authors noted. While previous studies showed that clinical pharmacists contribute to management of HIV patients, variability in the pharmacist's responsibilities and study limitations have hampered a thorough evaluation.


In this retrospective study, an HIV clinical pharmacist's interventions included suggesting regimens to suppress HIV, improve immunologic response, minimize adverse events, and optimize adherence by reducing pill burden and/or dosing frequency. Ma and colleagues assessed the efficacy of these interventions on pill burden, frequency, adherence, and patient clinical outcomes. The study took place at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Vallejo, Calif., from September 2006 to September 2008.

From a cohort of 75 patients, mean daily pill number and dosing decreased from 7.2 pills/day and 2.0 times a day in the control phase to 5.4 pills/day and 1.5 times/day during the study, respectively (p<0.001.) Adherence increased from a mean of 81 percent to 89 percent (p=0.003).

"Clinical outcomes measured by CD4+ cell count and CD4 percent were statistically improved, and more individuals achieved undetectable HIV viral loads post-intervention (p<0.001)," the authors found. "In conclusion, HIV clinical pharmacists may play an important role in reducing pill burden and dosing frequency, increasing medication adherence, and improving clinical outcomes."

Back to other news for March 2011

Adapted from:
10.2010; Vol. 22; No. 10: P. 1189-94; Angela Ma; David M. Chen; Fern M. Chau; Parya Saberi

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
6 Reasons Why People Skip Their HIV Meds
Word on the Street: Advice on Adhering to HIV Treatment
More HIV Treatment Adherence Research

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