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Pharmacists May Help People Stick to Pills

Pharmacists may have a role to play in helping people on blood thinners take their pills on schedule, a new study finds. The study used information on outpatients in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system. The 5,400 people in the study group got prescriptions for the drug dabigatran (Pradaxa). This blood thinner is prescribed for many people with an abnormal heart beat called atrial fibrillation. It helps to prevent clots that can cause strokes. Researchers interviewed pharmacists at 41 VA centers. They asked the pharmacists about how the VA center educated people about the drug and kept track of them. Practices varied. About 28% of those in the study did not take the medicine as directed. Patients were more likely to take their medicines correctly if pharmacists, rather than doctors' offices, did the follow-up. They also were less likely to miss doses.

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