April 19, 2005
Pharmacists are those
people that you go to when your doctor writes a prescription that
you need filled. Right? Pharmacists are, "Those persons legally
qualified by education and training to engage in the practice
Pharmacy is, "The
art or practice of preparing and preserving drugs, and of compounding
and dispensing medicines according to prescriptions of physicians;
the occupation of an apothecary or a pharmaceutical chemist."
Pharmacists know what
the medicines do, and how to prepare them for you. What else do
they know? What else do they do?
and self-management behavioral change are underpinnings of pharmaceutical
care, and not only as they directly relate to the use of medications.
Pharmacists, especially those who are certified diabetes educators
(CDEs), frequently provide diabetes patients with education not
only on medications, but also on the overall disease state, nutrition,
physical activity, decision-making skills, psychosocial adaptation,
complication prevention, goal setting, barrier resolution, and
So, you don't have diabetes,
and you are sure that the pharmacist who works at your local pharmacy
is just a regular one. You may be thinking:
"Why Should I Talk
to My Pharmacist?
cannot diagnose medical conditions, but your pharmacist can answer
many questions about medicines, recommend nonprescription drugs,
and discuss how [you or] your child may react to specific medications.
And some pharmacists can also provide blood sugar and blood pressure
monitoring and offer advice on home monitoring tests. ... Recently,
it has become popular for pharmacists to receive a doctor of pharmacy
degree. This 6- to 7-year-program requires pharmacists in training
to go on hospital rounds with doctors and be there when decisions
are made to begin drug use. ... Pharmacists are required to stay
up-to-date on the changing world of medicine. Every 2 years, U.S.
law requires your pharmacist to complete 30 credits of continuing
education classes on drug therapy."
Your pharmacist knows
how the medicines work, how they work together, and which ones
you don't want to take because they might now work with another
medicine you are taking. They also know what medicines might not
work with any alternative medicines you are taking, and even which
ones might not work as well with your lifestyle -- and which ones
might work better.
If you forget to mention
something during your doctor's appointment, or feel that you ran
out of time, talk to your pharmacist. If it is an issue that affects
your treatment, s/he can work with your doctor to make any necessary
changes to your prescription.
"Always follow your
doctor's or pharmacist's instructions. ...
* If you're already taking a medication and want to take something
you can buy over-the-counter in addition, ask the pharmacist.
There could be a bad interaction. ...
* Always remind your doctor and pharmacist if you're already taking
any other medicines or any herbal supplements. ...
* If you have any allergies, tell your doctor and pharacist before
they start you on a new medicine. ...
* If you ever have any questions about what a medicine does or
how you should take it, talk with your doctor or the pharmacist."
Some things you need
to talk with your doctor about. But what about when you can't
reach your doctor? What about when you wake up at three in the
morning with a fever of 103* F? What about the cough that won't
let you sleep but isn't worth a trip to the emergency room? What
if you are out of the country and don't know how to find a local
doctor -- or if you really need to see one? For example, let's
say you find yourself in the United Kingdom...
in Caversham can provide advice and treatment on a range of conditions,
including minor ailments and chronic disease. The pharmacists
can prescribe medicines for the following conditions: coughs and
colds, diarrhoea and vomiting, conjunctivitis, hay fever, thrush,
Even if you are not planning
to leave the country, pharmacists can provide more information
than some might think.
"In addition to
these substantial education responsibilities, advanced practice
pharmacists who are Board CertifiedˆAdvanced Diabetes Managers
(BC-ADMs) play an expanded role that encompasses disease state
management. This includes performing clinical assessments and
limited physical examinations; recognizing the need for additional
care; making referrals as needed; ordering and interpreting specific
laboratory tests; integrating their pharmacy patient care plans
into patients total medical care plans; and entering notes
on patient charts or carrying out other forms of written communication
with patients medical care providers. Depending on state
regulations and physician-based protocols, some advanced practice
pharmacists can prescribe and adjust medications independently
or after consultation with prescribing clinicians."
Depending on where you
live, you may have a 24 hour pharmacy, or one that is open from
nine to five. Some things need to be treated and seen by a doctor,
but some things can be dealt with by using the right over-the-counter
medication; pharmacists are available for consult whenever the
pharmacy is open.
Questions of the Week:
What role do you see pharmacists having in the medical field?
What roll do your peers see them playing? When do you need to
talk to a doctor, and when can you talk to a pharmacist instead?
When should you talk to a pharmacist in addition to a doctor?
What information and resources can a pharmacist offer?
Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.
I look forward to reading
what you have to say.
Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum