Pharmacist Care Improves Quality of Life in Women with Epilepsy

December 2, 2014
Rachel Lutz

Enrollment in a pharmaceutical care program conducted by a pharmacist can improve health-related quality of life in women with epilepsy, according to a recent study published in Health and Quality of Life Outcomes.

Enrollment in a pharmaceutical care program conducted by a pharmacist can improve health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in women with epilepsy, according to a recent study published in Health and Quality of Life Outcomes.

Researchers from the National University of Colombia surveyed 182 adult women with epilepsy who had been receiving outpatient treatment with anticonvulsants and had experienced at least 1 seizure in the past 3 years. The patients were randomized to receive either usual care at the institution or a pharmaceutical care program involving a pharmacist trained in the management of epileptic patients. That intervention included medication review follow-up for 6 months, monthly lectures in group sessions, treatment adherence monitoring, registration of seizures and possible triggers, and therapeutic drug monitoring of anticonvulsants.

The study results showed that HRQOL improved more in the intervention group than the control group—a change that was considered clinically significant. At baseline, a majority of the patients across both groups had poor HRQOL. While that remained the case for those enrolled in the control group, HRQOL decreased in about half of the intervention group, which the researchers credited to the pharmaceutical care program.

Some significant improvements in the intervention group were recorded in categories such as seizure worry and social and cognitive functioning, which the researchers attributed to the clarifications the pharmacist made during medication review follow-up interviews with the patients and their families about the use of medications, diseases, and lifestyle habits. For instance, the pharmacist explained in those interviews that patients are allowed to drink up to 2 beers, attend evening meetings, and adjust their sleeping schedules to reflect 7 interrupted hours.

“Learning this information from a pharmacist and resolving (patients’) doubts could have led to a reduction in their fear of social activities and the self-stress of living with this disease,” the authors wrote.

Based on their findings, the researchers recommended incorporating pharmaceutical care programs to improve HRQOL in women with epilepsy, and they acknowledged the importance of including a pharmacist in the multidisciplinary health care teams that serve those patients.