Hypertension referrals from community pharmacy to general practice: Multivariate logistic regression analysis of 131 419 patients
©British Journal of General Practice. Background The burden of hypertension in primary care is high, and alternative models of care, such as pharmacist management, have shown promise. However, data describing outcomes from routine consultations between pharmacists and patients with hypertension are lacking. Aim To identify factors associated with referral of patients from pharmacies to general practice within the first 2 weeks of starting a new antihypertensive medication. Design and setting Multivariate logistic regression conducted on data from community pharmacies in England. Method Data were obtained from the New Medicine Service between 2011 and 2012. Analyses were conducted on 131 419 patients. In all, 15 predictors were included in the model, grouped into three categories: patient-reported factors, demographic factors, and medication-related factors. Results Mean patient age was 65 years (±13 years), and 85% of patients were of white ethnicity. A total of 5895 (4.5%) patients were referred by a pharmacist to a GP within the first 2 weeks of starting a new antihypertensive medication. Patients reporting side effects (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 11.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 10.85 to 12.41) were most likely to be referred. Prescriptions for alpha-blockers were associated with referral (adjusted OR 1.28, 95% CI = 1.12 to 1.47), whereas patients receiving angiotensin-II receptor blockers were less likely to be referred (adjusted OR 0.89, 95% CI = 0.80 to 0.99). Conclusion Most patients were followed up by pharmacists without the need for referral. Patient-reported side effects, medication-related concerns, and the medication class prescribed influenced referral. These data are reassuring, in that additional pharmacist involvement does not increase medical workload appreciably, and support further development of pharmacist-led hypertension interventions.