Impact of Pharmacist-Led Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Chronic Insomnia

  • Joshua Nurkowski College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan
  • Habiba Elshorbagy Saskatchewan Health Authority
  • Katelyn Halpape College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan
  • Karen Jensen College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan
  • Darcy Lamb Saskatchewan Health Authority
  • Eric Landry College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan
  • Alfred Remillard College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan
  • Derek Jorgenson University of Saskatchewan, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition
Keywords: insomnia, primary care, cognitive behavioural therapy, pharmacy practice

Abstract

Background: Chronic insomnia is a common medical condition that negatively impacts quality of life and daytime function. Access to the first-line treatment for insomnia, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT-i), is limited. Pharmacists are well positioned to provide this service, but evidence regarding pharmacist delivered CBT-i is sparse. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of CBT-i delivered by pharmacists practicing in an outpatient clinic setting.

Methods: This study was a retrospective chart audit of adult patients with chronic insomnia who received CBT-i from a pharmacist at one of two outpatient clinics in Canada. The primary endpoints were the differences between patient self-reported sleep diary parameters and utilization of hypnotic medications before and after CBT-i was delivered. The differences in patient reported sleep parameters were compared using Wilcoxon Signed Rank test and paired samples t-test and changes in hypnotic utilization was compared using McNemar Chi-square test.

Results: 183 patients were referred for CBT-i and attended an initial appointment with a pharmacist. Of these, 105 did not receive the CBT-i. This resulted in 78 patients who met the inclusion criteria. Changes in sleep diary parameters were all statistically significantly improved after patients received CBT-i, except for total sleep time. Hypnotic medication use was also reduced. At baseline, 71.8% (n=56/78) of patients were taking one or more hypnotic medications compared to 52.6% (n=41/78) after CBT-i (p=0.0003).

Discussion: The results of this study provide preliminary evidence that pharmacists working in an outpatient clinic setting may be able to effectively deliver CBT-i for patients with chronic insomnia. The external validity of these results is limited by the observational study design and the inclusion of pharmacists practicing in outpatient clinics, which is not the setting where most pharmacists currently practice.

Conclusion: This observational study found improvements in sleep quality and efficiency, as well as, a reduction in hypnotic medication use, in patients who received CBT-i from pharmacists practicing in an outpatient clinic setting. Future randomized, controlled trials should evaluate the impact of CBT-i in a larger sample of patients, provided by pharmacists practicing in both outpatient clinics and community pharmacies.

 

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Dates
Received 2020-07-11
Accepted 2020-07-27
Published 2020-08-03
Section
Pharmacy Practice & Practice-Based Research