Pharmacist-led group medical appointments for the management of type 2 diabetes with comorbid depression in older adults

Tracey H. Taveira, University of Rhode Island
Andrea G. Dooley, University of Rhode Island
Lisa B. Cohen, University of Rhode Island
Sameed Ahmed M. Khatana, University of Rhode Island
Wen Chih Wu, University of Rhode Island


BACKGROUND: Depression is associated with poor glycemic control, increased number of microvascular and macrovascular complications, functional impairment, mortality, and 4.5 times higher total health care costs in patients with diabetes. Shared medical appointments (SMAs) may be an effective method to attain national guideline recommendations for glycemic control in diabetes for patients with depression through peer support, counseling, problem solving, and improved access to care. OBJECTIVE: To test the efficacy as assessed by attainment of a hemoglobin A1c (A1C) <7% of pharmacist-led group SMA visits, Veterans Affairs Multidisciplinary Education in Diabetes and Intervention for Cardiac Risk Reduction in Depression (VA-MEDIC-D), in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. METHODS: This was a randomized controlled trial of VA-MEDIC-D added to standard care versus standard care alone in depressed patients with diabetes with A1C >6.5%. VA-MEDIC-D consisted of 4 once-weekly, 2-hour sessions followed by 5 monthly 90-minute group sessions. Each SMA session consisted of multidisciplinary education and pharmacist-led behavioral and pharmacologic interventions for diabetes, lipids, smoking, and blood pressure. No pharmacologic interventions for depression were provided. The change in the proportion of participants who achieved an A1C <7% at 6 months was compared. RESULTS: Compared to standard care (n = 44), a lower proportion of patients in VAMEDIC-D (n = 44) had systolic blood pressure (SBP) <130 mmHg at baseline, but were similar in other cardiovascular risk factors and psychiatric comorbidity. The change in the proportion of participants achieving an A1C <7% was greater in the VA-MEDIC-D arm than in the standard care arm (29.6% vs 11.9%), with odds ratio 3.6 (95% CI 1.1 to 12.3). VA-MEDIC-D participants also achieved significant reductions in SBP, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol from baseline, whereas significant reductions were attained only in non-HDL cholesterol with standard care. There was no significant change in depressive symptoms for either arm. CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacist-led group SMA visits are efficacious in attainment of glycemic control in patients with diabetes and depression without change in depression symptoms.