Breakdown in the expedited partner therapy treatment cascade: from reproductive healthcare provider to the pharmacist

Okeoma O. Mmeje, Jennifer Z. Qin, Marisa K. Wetmore, Giselle E. Kolenic, Clarissa P. Diniz, Jenell S. Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The rising incidence rates of sexually transmitted infections in the United States highlight the need for concurrent treatment of patients and their sexual partners. Expedited partner therapy allows healthcare providers to offer antibiotic prescriptions or medications to an index patient for distribution to their sexual partner(s) without evaluating the partner. We hypothesized that there was a gap between expedited partner therapy policy at the state level and its downstream implementation by community pharmacists. Objective: The objectives of our study were to evaluate pharmacists’ expedited partner therapy knowledge and practices in 41 expedited partner therapy–permissible US states, to determine whether there were differences in practice based on the length of time expedited partner therapy was permissible in the state and chlamydia incidence rates, and to measure the cost of expedited partner therapy treatment. Study Design: A randomized cohort of pharmacists (n=335) was invited to complete a telephone interview from November 2017 through January 2018. Descriptive statistics were calculated and stratified by early, mid, and late expedited partner therapy–adopter status based on the year of the state's expedited partner therapy enactment and the state's chlamydia incidence rate. Fisher's exact test and 1-way analyses of variance were used to compare measures across strata. Results: We had 143 pharmacists (42.7%) agree to complete the survey. Among our respondents, 40.6% (n=58/143) indicated that they were aware of expedited partner therapy; 14.7% (n=21/143) reported that they had ever received an expedited partner therapy prescription, and 97% (n=139/143) reported that they would dispense an expedited partner therapy prescription if they received 1 in the future. These findings were stable across the 6 strata defined by early, mid, or late expedited partner therapy–adopter and high or low incidence rates of chlamydia status. Mean cost of azithromycin 1000 mg and cefixime 400 mg for treatment of chlamydia and gonorrhea was $22.17 (95% confidence interval, 20.29–24.05) and $30.46 (95% confidence interval, 28.65–32.26), respectively. Conclusion: Fewer than one-half of the pharmacists were aware of expedited partner therapy. A small minority of pharmacists reported ever having received an expedited partner therapy prescription, regardless of the length of time expedited partner therapy had been legal in their states and the incidence of chlamydia. However, almost all pharmacists reported that they would dispense an expedited partner therapy prescription if they received 1. Additionally, costs were high for expedited partner therapy for self-pay patients. These data suggest that there are opportunities to increase expedited partner therapy utilization by healthcare providers, patients, and pharmacists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417.e1-417.e8
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Volume223
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • chlamydia
  • expedited partner therapy
  • gonorrhea
  • pharmacist
  • sexually transmitted infection
  • treatment and prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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