A targeted approach to improve asthma control using community pharmacists

Sarah Serhal, Bandana Saini, Sinthia Bosnic-Anticevich, Ines Krass, Lynne Emmerton, Bonnie Bereznicki, Luke Bereznicki, Bernadette Mitchell, Frances Wilson, Bronwen Wright, Kiara Wilson, Naomi Weier, Rebecca Segrott, Rhonda Cleveland, Stephen Jan, Sana Shan, Laurent Billot, Carol Armour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Building on lessons learnt from evidence-based community pharmacy asthma management models, a streamlined and technology supported Pharmacy Asthma Service (PAS) was developed to promote the integration of the service into routine practice.

Objective: This study investigates the efficacy of the PAS in improving asthma symptom control and other health outcomes.

Methods: A two-arm pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial was implemented in 95 pharmacies across three Australian States. Participants were adults with poorly controlled asthma as per the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ), with or without allergic rhinitis. Patients within the PAS arm engaged in four consultations with the pharmacist over a 12-month period. An evidence-based algorithm guided pharmacies, via a trial specific software, to deliver a series of interventions targeting three issues underpinning uncontrolled asthma (medication use and adherence, inhaler technique, and allergic rhinitis management) to patient clinical asthma status and patient need. Comparator arm patients received a minimal intervention likened to usual practice involving referral of eligible patients to the GP and two follow-up consultations with their pharmacist to collect comparative data.

Results: In total, 143 of 221 PAS patients (65%) and 111 of 160 comparator patients (69%) completed the trial. Improvements in asthma control were achieved in both the PAS (mean difference (MD) in ACQ from baseline = −1.10, p <.0001) and comparator (MD in ACQ from baseline = −0.94, p <.0001) arms at the trial end; however, there were no significant differences between the two arms (MD = −0.16, 95% CI −0.41 to 0.08, p = 0.19). Patients’ quality of life in the PAS arm improved significantly when compared with the comparator arm (MD in Impact of Asthma on Quality-of-Life Questionnaire (IAQLQ) = −0.52, 95% CI −0.89 to −0.14, p = 0.0079).

Conclusion: Despite the PAS achieving a greater improvement in patients’ quality of life, the pharmacist-led service and usual practice arm produced comparable improvements in asthma control. These results ask us to reflect on current standards of usual care, as it appears the standard of asthma care in usual practice has evolved beyond what is reported in the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Article number798263
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • asthma
  • community pharmacy
  • asthma control
  • implementation
  • pharmacy services
  • health services


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