Study: POS electronic safety check can reduce heart attack risk among diabetes patients

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A point-of-sale safety check may reduce the risk of patients unsafely receiving a drug for Type 2 diabetes that may increase their risk of heart attack, according to a new study conducted by pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics and scheduled for presentation at the 23rd annual meeting of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy in Minneapolis.

The study found that a POS automated electronic safety edit designed to require prior authorization from a provider for patients using GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia (rosiglitazone) concurrently with an insulin or a nitrate reduced the chances of their receiving the drug, use of which with a nitrate could put them at risk of myocardial ischemia, a condition in which the arteries in the heart become blocked.

For the study, one of Prime’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield clients implemented an edit that required a prior authorization for Avandia if a nitrate drug supply already existed. As a result, between January and June 2009, 168 members had their Avandia claim denied at the POS. Researchers then compared those members with a control group of 222 for whom the safety edit was inactive. After six months, 78.6% of the 168 members in the study group were using a diabetes drug other than Avandia, compared with 25.6% of those in the control group. Thirteen percent of patients in the study group abandoned antidiabetic drug therapy altogether, compared with 15% in the control group.

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