ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday announced that it is participating in the "Team Up. Pressure Down." program to help hypertensive patients more effectively manage and control their high blood pressure — and ultimately prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
"Team Up. Pressure Down." is a new pharmacy-focused program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts initiative co-led by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The program offers time-saving resources — from video vignettes to conversation starters — that encourage and support pharmacists in providing counseling services to their hypertensive patients, with the goal of improving medication adherence (i.e., patients following their medication regimen as prescribed by a doctor). A suite of patient education materials will also be available through the program to help people with high blood pressure take a more active role in self-management efforts and to encourage increased interaction with their pharmacists.
"This is a great opportunity for pharmacists, and NCPA is proud to be a partner," stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. "As one of the most accessible healthcare providers, pharmacists can play a significant role in the treatment and prevention of heart disease. Services — including blood pressure and lipid monitoring, smoking cessation programs and patient intervention and reminder systems — can play a vital role. Many community pharmacists already provide these services on a daily basis, and hopefully this campaign will spur greater awareness and utilization of them."
Recent research shows that pharmacist-directed care can improve the management of major cardiovascular risk factors — including hypertension — and has a positive impact on patient health outcomes. Nearly 1-in-3 adults has hypertension, and 36 million Americans do not have it under control. Taking hypertension medicines as prescribed can greatly reduce a patient's risk for heart attack and stroke, yet 30% stop taking their medicines within six months, and 50% stop within one year.