DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens recently presented research from two retrospective cohort studies exploring HIV and comorbid medication adherence at HIV-specialized pharmacies and the implications for HIV patients with serious mental illness. The research, presented at the Cell-Lancet conference, "What Will it Take to Achieve an AIDS-free World?," in San Francisco Nov. 3-5, demonstrates that adherence to therapeutic treatments for HIV and associated comorbidities, such as serious mental illness, was significantly higher for patients using Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies than for patients using other Walgreens retail pharmacies.
“Medication adherence is vital to maintaining optimal health for patients with the HIV virus. Poor medication adherence can lead to treatment failure, resistance to therapy and increased mortality and is one of the greatest and most costly barriers in treating illness today,” Janeen DuChane, senior director of clinical outcomes and analytics, Walgreens stated. “By developing specialized patient support programs, we can improve adherence for HIV patients, better serve HIV populations and reduce medical costs.”
In examining the differences in medication adherence for patients using Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies and those using other Walgreens retail pharmacies, researchers confirmed that HIV patients utilizing the specialized pharmacies were more adherent to their anti-retroviral and comorbid therapies. The study found that the mean proportion of days covered for patients using Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies was significantly higher than for patients using other Walgreens retail pharmacies.
For patients taking angiotensin converting enzyme or angiotensin receptor blocker (drugs used to treat hypertension), Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacy users had a significantly higher mean proportion of days covered of 82.6% compared with 79.6% in patients using other Walgreens retail pharmacies.
Among patients taking statins (drugs used to treat high cholesterol), Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacy users also had a higher mean proportion of days covered of 83.7% than those using other Walgreens retail pharmacies (81.3%).
In a separate study, Walgreens researchers conducted a retrospective data analysis of HIV patients with serious mental illness, a group that often experience challenges associated with the willingness and ability to take medication as prescribed which can contribute to a two-fold increase in hospitalization costs. Nearly 30% of HIV patients assessed had an indication of serious mental illness comorbidity and demonstrated increased medication adherence2 when utilizing a Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacy. Among HIV patients with serious mental illness who exclusively used HIV-specialized pharmacies, 32.7% were adherent to their anti-retroviral therapy versus 19.4% for HIV patients with serious mental illness using other Walgreens retail pharmacies.
"Both studies validate the benefit of patient medication adherence associated with HIV-specialized pharmacies and underscore Walgreens commitment to be a part of the solution to end AIDS," Walgreens stated in a release. "Walgreens award-winning HIV-specialized pharmacies provide education, counseling, testing and treatment through its more than 2,000 HIV-trained pharmacists at more than 700 locations."