Pharmacists Boost Hepatitis D Treatment Success with Hands-On Education

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Treatment often involves a complex daily routine of reconstitution and subcutaneous injection, along with strict storage requirements.

Effective medication self-management is crucial for patients with chronic diseases to avoid complications and improve health outcomes. Pharmacist-led patient education programs (PEPs) have shown great success in helping patients manage their medications, but lack of formal recognition and leadership has hindered their universal adoption. Researchers at the University Hospital of Padova in Italy highlight the benefits of pharmacist-led PEPs for patients with hepatitis D virus (HDV).

The EXPLAIN (hepcludEX Patient education program provided by cLinical phArmacist IN a dedicated setting) initiative helps patients with HDV manage their medication regimens. HDV, a severe liver disease that occurs in those already infected with hepatitis B, requires careful medication management to prevent liver cirrhosis. Bulevirtide (Hepcludex) involves a complex daily routine of reconstitution and subcutaneous injection, along with strict storage requirements.

The study results, published in Pharmacy Practice, details the EXPLAIN project. The hospital’s medication review clinic (MRC) launched this initiative to teach patients how to prepare and administer their medication using demonstration kits. Patients received hands-on training and practiced self-administering their first dose under the supervision of a pharmacist. The education covered medication protocols, potential adverse effects, and quality of life (QoL) assessments.

Key findings from the study show significant improvements in medication adherence and patient satisfaction. From August to December 2023, 21 patients participated in the EXPLAIN project. At the 1-month follow-up, 100% of patients reported adherence rates over 80%, with 80% achieving perfect adherence. Patients' QoL scores also improved significantly, with a mean increase of 9.1 points compared to baseline. Finally, patients rated the service highly, with an average score of 9.8 out of 10.

About the Author

Ava Landry is a 2026 PharmD candidate at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy in Storrs.

These results highlight the effectiveness of pharmacist-led PEPs in improving medication adherence and patient satisfaction, especially for complex therapies such as bulevirtide. The EXPLAIN project shows that pharmacists play a crucial role in patient education and support, helping patients manage their treatments effectively.

Integrating personalized PEPs within hospital clinics is crucial for optimal medication adherence and patient outcomes. Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to provide this support, addressing gaps often left by other health care professionals. The EXPLAIN project demonstrates that pharmacist-led education not only improves adherence but also boosts patient QoL, making it a vital part of managing chronic diseases.

Reference
Mengato D, Trivellato S, Pedrolo C, et al. Eur J Hosp Pharm. Epub ahead of print: May 20, 2024. doi:10.1136/ejhpharm-2024-004170

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