Pharmacist-Administered ART Adherence Clinic Makes Inroads


According to the US Department of Health and Human services, only 57% of people who receive an HIV diagnosis stay in HIV care.

According to the US Department of Health and Human services, only 57% of people who receive an HIV diagnosis stay in HIV care.

Patients need to be 95% adherent to antiretroviral therapy (ART) to maintain undetectable HIV RNA viral load and decrease transmission. Pharmacists are medication experts with specialized adherence strategies to help patients with HIV.

A study published in the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy in its February 2018 issue evaluated the clinical and economic effects of a pharmacist-led ART adherence clinic. Primary care providers referred patients for ART initiation or reinitiation, ART failure or high risk of failure, adverse drug reactions, and other adherence or pharmaceutical care issues.

The researchers enrolled 28 participants in the study. The initial adherence visit lasted 1 hour, with 30-minute follow-up visits at 1 to 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. Pharmacists focused on medication and disease state education, encouraged ART adherence through motivational interviewing and patient recall and repetition (instead of informational handouts), and provided direct patient care in collaboration with other medical professionals.

Researchers noted that pharmacists can resolve adherence problems to achieve HIV viral suppression, provide a societal economic benefit, and prevent HIV transmission.

In the 16 patients who completed the study, viral load decreased from a median of 48,000 copies/mL to undetectable levels (<20 copies/mL). Cost saving was high, with a return of nearly $3 in future medical savings per dollar spent on adherence interventions. The researchers estimated that the intervention prevented about 0.13 secondary HIV infections in sexual partners in the 3 months following the intervention.

The researchers emphasized that the inclusion of pharmacists in multidisciplinary care teams is a must as they increase ART adherence in patients with HIV with documented adherences problems. The study's positive results were a salute to the pharmacists’ quality of care and the time they spent with patients before and after ART initiation.


Dilworth TJ, Klein PW, Mercier R-C, et al. Clinical and economic effects of a pharmacist-administered antiretroviral therapy adherence clinic for patients living with HIV. JManaged Care & Spec Pharm. 2018;24(2):165-172.

Related Videos
Laboratory test tubes and solution with stethoscope background | Image Credit: Shutter2U -
Image credit: Andrea Izzotti
Image credit: |
Inflation Reduction Act is shown using the text and the US flag - Image credit: Andrii |
Pharmacy Interior | Image Credit: Tyler Olson -
Image credit: gamjai -
Male pharmacist selling medications at drugstore to a senior woman customer | Image Credit: Zamrznuti tonovi -
Pharmacist assists senior woman in buying medicine in pharmacy - Image credit: Drazen |
Pharmacy, medicine and senior woman consulting pharmacist on prescription. Healthcare, shopping and elderly female in consultation with medical worker for medication box, pills or product in store - Image credit: C Daniels/ |
Image credit: fidaolga -
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.