Education for arthritis patients: a community pharmacy based pilot project

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Valentina B. Petkova


Arthritis, Community Pharmacy Services, Patient Education as Topic, Bulgaria


There are different kinds of arthritis, widely spread among the population, that make them a clinical problem with social, psychological and economic burden. Different education programs have been developed in order to improve patients’ disease management, medication compliance and from there patients’ quality of life.

Objective: To develop and implement a community pharmacy-based educational program for patients with arthritis. Improvements in pain, medication compliance, decrease in general practitioner’s visits and hospitalizations are expected.

Methods: Prospective, randomized, controlled trial. The sample consisted of 43 individuals, with different stages of arthritis (aged 15 - 71), attending pharmacies – intervention group; and 43 individuals – control group. A 4-month education was conducted on the following topics: what causes arthritis and what are the factors that can intensify it; pain management and physical activities; self-management and prevention; pharmacotherapy and possible adverse drug reactions. Patient's health-related quality of life was assessed in the beginning and at the end of the survey.

Results: Parameters assessed during the four stages of the program were: frequency of severe pain, frequency of general practitioner’s visits, frequency of urgent medical aid calls, compliance with therapy, satisfaction with pharmacy services. Improvement in patients’ health-related quality of life was observed and also: decrease in the severity of patients’ pain, decrease in the physician’s visits, and increase in satisfaction overall care.

Conclusions:  Positive results from the educational approach in pharmacy conditions were demonstrated. These consequences have a potential to increase arthritis patient’s quality of life.


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