During the ESCP Spring Workshop in Antwerp we had the opportunity to hear the results of the work of young colleagues from Latvia and Malta.
Anna has a pharmacist diploma and she is currently pursuing a PhD in clinical pharmacy. Her research focuses on the safety aspects of direct oral anticoagulants among patients with atrial fibrillation. She is primarily involved in academic work, and she teaches courses on “Pharmaceutical Pharmacology” and “Pharmacotherapy in Pharmacist’s Practice” along with her colleagues at Rīga Stradiņš University (Riga, Latvia). Collaborating with her esteemed colleagues in various disciplines, they aim to provide comprehensive education and contribute to the advancement of pharmaceutical knowledge. Their institution established the new Pharmaceutical Education and Research Centre, which significantly promotes their research efforts and enables us to conduct more extensive studies.
The goal of drug therapy is to be safe and effective. During the ESCP Spring Workshop, Anna shared her research findings on the significance of direct oral anticoagulants’ (DOAC) concentration measure assays for patients taking amiodarone simultaneously. It was discovered that, in atrial fibrillation patients receiving amiodarone before scheduled electrical cardioversion, higher-than expected concentrations of DOACs are found for rivaroxaban and edoxaban users. This event provided an excellent opportunity to discuss practical concerns regarding the optimization of medication usage, risk decreasing against bleeding, and providing high-quality care to this patient cohort. The experience has motivated her to further her research to discover objective control mechanisms of long-term DOAC therapy.
Anna´s department has substantial experience in studying adherence problems to antihypertensive therapy. Achieving optimal blood pressure control, the main goal of antihypertensive treatment requires patient cooperation in addition to effective medication. Available evidence suggests that up to 90% of patients with AH may miss treatment, and ~ 50% may discontinue therapy within one year of diagnosis. Their recent survey results indicate that every other patient is non-adherent in Latvia, which is a concerning finding. Prescription databases analytical study also supported these results. However, both of these methods have disadvantages, so they are not commonly utilized in daily clinical practice. Thus, there is a need for more independent methods to measure adherence, such as determining the concentration of an antihypertensive drug or metabolite over a prolonged period of therapy, minimizing the risk of subjectivity.
Anna concluded: “The clinical pharmacy offers numerous advantages in healthcare. By actively involving pharmacists in patient care, clinical pharmacy enhances medication safety and optimizes therapeutic outcomes. Pharmacists with expertise play a pivotal role in medication management, conducting medication reconciliation, identifying and resolving medication-related problems, and providing drug information to healthcare professionals and patients. Interdisciplinary teams promote effective communication and collaboration, resulting in improved patient care. Moreover, it contributes to research and education, expanding the knowledge base and ensuring evidence-based practice. Given our shared interest in patient safety, medication optimization, and adherence, I invite everyone to consider collaborating on future projects and initiatives to further advance clinical pharmacy practice and contribute to the betterment of patient care. Together, we can make a meaningful impact in this field.”
Raquel is 22-year-old Maltese final year pharmacy student reading for a Master in Pharmacy (M.Pharm.) degree at the University of Malta.
During the Spring ESCP Workshop in Antwerp, Belgium, Raquel presented an oral communication reflecting findings from her dissertation, which focused on ‘Pharmacist-Led Personalisation of Antiplatelet Therapy and Outcomes After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention’. The research was conducted under the supervision of Dr Francesca Wirth, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Malta and Member of the Research Committee of ESCP. The research was undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Cardiology at Mater Dei Hospital, the main acute general hospital in Malta.
There is currently an ongoing dilemma regarding the choice and duration of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) for patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The research aimed to assess bleeding risk, optimise antithrombotic therapy and evaluate outcomes in patients undergoing PCI. Two hundred patients undergoing PCI and candidates for DAPT were prospectively recruited for this cohort study. Bleeding risk was determined using the PRECISE-DAPT score, which was not routinely used in local practice. Low bleeding risk patients on oral anticoagulation therapy and all moderate-to-high bleeding risk patients were discussed with the cardiologists for therapy optimisation, taking into account also ischaemic risk. Cardiologists accepted the researcher as part of the team and considered the bleeding risk evaluation proposed by the researcher, where changes in treatment where made as necessary. Patients were followed up over a 1-year period post-PCI for morality, bleeding and ischaemic outcomes. Application of the PRECISE-DAPT score in this setting was innovative, and the research demonstrated that pharmacist-led evaluation of bleeding risk supported cardiologists in the personalisation of antithrombotic therapy post-PCI.
Disseminating research as an oral presentation in this year’s ESCP workshop was a valuable opportunity for Raquel, especially since it was her first time participating and disseminating research in an international forum. Raquel valued the insightful feedback received from the workshop attendees and it was an enriching experience which she will cherish. From a networking perspective, she made new connections with international peers in the field of pharmacy. It is definitely an experience that should not be missed, and young researchers are encouraged to become members of ESCP, submit research abstracts and attend activities organised by ESCP!
We are happy we can introduce the research of our members. This time we introduce the research of Ugur Balaban from Turkey.
Ugur works as a research assistant in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy at Hacettepe University in Ankara. His research interests include drug pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics during therapeutic plasma exchange and renal replacement therapies, therapeutic drug monitoring, and antimicrobials. Currently, Ugur and the team from Department of Clinical Pharmacy, work on questionnaire study. They aim to contribute to the existing literature and increase awareness among clinicians regarding antimicrobial treatment practices in patients undergoing therapeutic plasma exchange.
Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE), a therapeutic procedure in which blood of the patient is passed through a medical device which separates out plasma from other components of blood. The plasma is removed and replaced with a suitable replacement fluid (e.g., human albumin, fresh frozen plasma). TPE aims to remove disease-associated pathogenic elements from the patient’s plasma, including autoantibodies, toxins and cytokines.
It is important to note that TPE not only removes pathogenic elements from the plasma but can also result in the removal of drugs. There are no definitive guidelines about antimicrobial drug removal by TPE or the appropriate antimicrobial drug dosing in patients undergoing concurrent TPE. Based on this, the purpose of this questionnaire study is to highlight treatment practices in patients receiving antimicrobial drug treatment and undergoing concurrent TPE, as well as clinicians’ knowledge and attitudes. The questionnaire is primarily aimed at physicians working in the departments of infectious diseases and clinical microbiology, as well as intensive/critical care. Furthermore, physicians from other departments are also encouraged to participate.
We as a clinical pharmacists could help Ugur and his team with distributing the questionnaire among a wide range of physicians we are collaborating with by sharing the link. For more information contact Ugur directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ugur Balaban, Prof. Dr. S. Kutay Demirkan, and Dr. Emre Kara (Faculty of Pharmacy at Hacettepe University in Ankara)
In April, ESCP welcomed participants from 19 countries to its international workshop ‘Advancing clinical pharmacy and care in diabetes and cardiovascular comorbidities’ in Antwerp (Belgium).
The program for the 2-day workshops had four plenary sessions.
Philip Newland-Jones discussed the future and forefront of type 2 diabetes management to optimize care and reduce future risk of complications.
Alia Gilani shared her experiences as senior diabetes clinical pharmacist working in a UK general practice setting within an area of high deprivation and diversity. Developing innovative services she managed to provide care to hard-to-reach groups.
Frederik Verbrugge provided an update in cardiovascular co-morbidities prevention with an extensive overview of must-read scientific papers underlining both preventive measures (smoking cessation, limit salt intake, …) as well as pharmacological and surgical treatment options.
Goos Laverman presented the Diabetes and Lifestyle Cohort Twente (DIALECT) as example of an integrated approach to reach treatment targets in persons with type 2 diabetes.
In the four workshops, participants discussed the following topics: safe use of injectables and devices in diabetes patients, lifestyle and personalized diabetes treatment in primary care, tackling inequalities in medication management and medication review and management of diabetes in patients with multimorbidity.
The integrated management including preventive and lifestyle measures as well as pharmacological and nutritional management focusing on all aspects of our (multimorbidity) patients is key.
Spring arrived just in time to create a nice atmosphere for walks both in lunch break as well as to welcome participants to the city hall of Antwerp for the reception. We were welcomed by the city with local beers and received a private guided tour of the city hall.
Update from the General Committee (by Derek Stewart)
The General Committee is the ESCP leadership body and is responsible for driving the strategy of the society. We are continuing to move with delivering our 2022-2024 strategy and are now working with external consultants, 3Sixty Healthcare Meetings Consultancy, on a number of key areas surrounding event planning and strategic partnerships with industry. We have now approved the 2023 plans for each of the ESCP Committees. These are exciting and ambitious plans which will impact the products that we deliver for our members. We are very grateful for the hard work of the committees and look forward to future updates. Each committee has provided an update of activities in this newsletter. We are also pushing forward on collaborative agreements with several national clinical pharmacy societies, with mutual benefits for ESCP and the national societies. If you are involved with your national clinical pharmacy society and would like to explore partnership, then please get in touch. You will read later in the newsletter about our continued work on the Oath to Society with the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP). Along with EAHP, we are also progressing the establishment of the European Council for Pharmacy Education Accreditation (ECPhA) and will provide updates in future newsletters. We have also had very productive discussions with the European Pharmaceutical Students’ Associations (EPSA) regarding collaboration and are in the process of meeting with the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF).
Interested in joining the General Committee? Watch this space for announcements of vacancies.
Update from the Communication Committee (by Derek Stewart)
For the last year, Derek Stewart ESCP President has chaired the Communication Committee. During that time the committee has been increasingly active in improving communication to members and non-members. If you are not already doing so, please follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The committee is now working on an ambassador initiative, which will be presented to the General Committee in the next few months and then piloted. Watch this space!
Derek is now handing the chair of the committee to Esteban Zavaleta.
Esteban Zavaleta, PharmD, MSM, has more than 17 years of experience in hospital and clinical pharmacy. Although his position is related to different administrative activities, he is actively involved in several clinical and research projects. Esteban has been active in a variety of pharmacy organizations in Costa Rica, and currently, he is an active member of several global pharmacy organizations such as ESCP.
Esteban aspires to improve the communication with current active members and invite other clinical pharmacy personnel around the world to join ESCP´s initiatives.
In March, we also welcomed a new committee member.
Dr Abdu Soltani, Assistant Professor in Clinical Pharmacy & Molecular Neurosciences. Abdu joined the Academic Quality Department at Qatar University Health in 2021. He completed his PhD at King’s College London in 2011 (Molecular Neurosciences & Medicinal Chemistry). Abdu has over 10 years’ experience as a clinical pharmacist, research investigator and quality assurance person at King’s College London, University College London & University of Hertfordshire, UK.
Abdu’s research interests are focused on optimizing the clinical management of neurological & psychiatric disorders in addition to medical education. Looking forward to joining the fantastic team of ESCP’s communication committee.
Update from the Education Committee (by Kateřina Malá Ládová)
In Spring 2023, EdCom welcomed three new members
Dr. Hamde Nazar, director of education and senior lecturer in pharmacy practice, School of Pharmacy, the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
Dr. Joanne Brown, clinical education pharmacist, Northern Ireland Universities Network
Dr. Valentina Buda, clinical pharmacist and associate professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy, “Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Romania
All three have become immediately involved in EdCom activities so that the action plan for 2023 can be fulfilled. EdCom also organizes and supports ESCP webinars, the quality of which is demonstrated through the profiles of the internationally renowned expert presenters from across the world. Visit our website for more information. The EdCom will also deliver a workshop at the ESCP symposium in Aberdeen later this year.
Update from the Special Interest Group (SIG) Council (by Bart Pouls)
The SIG task force is working on operationalising communications within SIGs and within ESCP together with ComCom and the webmasters. In addition, we are setting up the SIG council to learn from each other and determine how we can best support our vibrant community. Interested in joining on of the SIGs or starting one with fellow ESCP members? Please click here for more information.
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