"TEAM" Study Evaluates High Blood Pressure in African-Americans

WomanMADISON - Community pharmacists in 28 sites in southern Wisconsin are taking part in a new study aimed at controlling one of the biggest risks to the health of African-Americans: high blood pressure.
African-Americans as a group have the highest prevalence of high blood pressure - and develop it earlier - than any other ethnic or racial group in the U.S. When uncontrolled, high blood pressure can cause kidney failure, heart disease and stroke - making it one of the most significant but controllable causes of death.
With a $2.3 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy is evaluating a new approach to help control high blood pressure in African-Americans, an at-risk population. The "TEAM" (Team Education and Monitoring) study will rely on community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in five Wisconsin cities to help educate patients about their blood pressure, medications and other strategies needed to control blood pressure, and communicate with the patients' doctors when appropriate.
The study is being done by researchers from UW-Madison, Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Illinois-Chicago, and University of Kansas in collaboration with Walgreen's and Aurora pharmacies.
"Community pharmacists fill more than 60 percent of all prescriptions, and pharmacists are both accessible to patients and very knowledgeable about the benefits and side effects of blood pressure medications," says Bonnie Svarstad, PhD, professor emerita at the School of Pharmacy and principal investigator of the TEAM study. "They can also help patients monitor their blood pressure between doctor visits and thus help patients get more involved in the care of their blood pressure."
A total of 28 Walgreen's and Aurora pharmacies in Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Beloit, and Madison are taking part in the TEAM study. Researchers will screen and enroll 25 patients, for a total of 700 in the study.
All patients will have their blood pressure taken and will fill out survey forms. After that, half of the patients will be randomly assigned to receive an educational packet; the other half will meet monthly with a pharmacist for six months. They will receive free blood pressure checks and pharmacist suggestions about improving blood pressure control. Doctors will receive brief reports and pharmacist recommendations if needed. Patients will continue to see their doctors as usual.

Date Published: 06/06/2007

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