International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 1075–1082 | Cite as

The pharmacists’ potential to provide targets for interventions to optimize pharmacotherapy in patients with asthma

  • J. F. M. van BovenEmail author
  • E. G. Hiddink
  • A. G. G. Stuurman-Bieze
  • C. C. M. Schuiling-Veninga
  • M. J. Postma
  • S. Vegter
Research Article


Background Despite of pharmacists’ specialized knowledge of medication and his/her regular contact with patients, the expertise of the pharmacist may not be used enough yet. Furthermore, the potential of pharmacy dispensing data is underestimated. Objective To provide targets for tailored interventions in asthma patients and to illustrate the potential value of pharmacists in the identification of these targets using individual pharmacy dispensing data. Setting We performed a cross sectional retrospective analysis assessing the quality of asthma patients’ pharmacotherapeutic treatment. Method Drug dispensing data from 2008 to 2009 were retrieved from a Dutch pharmacy database. All asthma patients were screened for potential suboptimal pharmacotherapy in 2009. Results were projected to a single community pharmacy to provide an estimate of the number of patients eligible for potential interventions. Main outcome measures (1) frequent use of short-acting β-agonists without preventive medication, (2) concomitant use of β-blockers, (3) multiple short courses of oral corticosteroids without using inhaled corticosteroids and 4) use of long-acting β-agonist without inhaled corticosteroids. Results A total of 8,504 patients were eligible for analysis of the quality of their asthma treatment. 20.9 % of all asthma patients used >100 DDD short-acting β-agonists per year, whereas between 21.2 % (≥400 DDD) and 31.4 % (100–199 DDD) of these patients did not receive preventive medication. Approximately 5.2 % of the asthma patients are using β-blockers concomitantly and 21.8 % of them received non-cardioselective β-blockers. 6.3 % of the asthma patients received two or more oral courses of corticosteroids in 2008 and 17.4 % of these patients did not receive inhaled corticosteroids in 2009. 2.9 % of the patients used a long-acting β-agonists without inhaled corticosteroids. 8.4 % of the asthma patients using both long-acting β-agonists and inhaled corticosteroids received these drugs in two separate inhalers. We estimated that about 400 asthma patients could be identified in an average pharmacy population (8,000 patients) and 33 (95 % CI 22–44) of these patients would be eligible for interventions. Conclusion This study shows the potential for pharmacists to use their own pharmacy records to identify suboptimal therapy of asthma patients, who may be targets for tailored interventions.


Asthma Dispensing records Interventions Pharmacist 



The authors would like to thank Sipke Visser for database assistance.


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. F. M. van Boven
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. G. Hiddink
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. G. G. Stuurman-Bieze
    • 2
    • 3
  • C. C. M. Schuiling-Veninga
    • 1
  • M. J. Postma
    • 1
  • S. Vegter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy, Unit of PharmacoEpidemiology and PharmacoEconomicsUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Health Base FoundationHoutenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Apotheek WestEmmeloordThe Netherlands

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