What Every Pharmacist Should Know – Drug Therapy Example

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"What Every Pharmacist Should Know" is an exciting example of a paper on drug therapy. Being a  Pharmacist, I  have an obligation towards the patients  in prescribing  medicines which do not pose risk to their  health and  well being. Patients are unaware of the consequences  and effects  of the medicines on their  health;   hence pharmacists must inform the patients correctly on this issue. In an attempt to improve the health and  well being  of a patient,   the pharmacist  follows  the practice of  evidence-based  medicine. A pharmacist must be well acknowledged in Evidence-Based Medicine as it allows them to guide the patient properly and answer clinical questions  with accuracy.   “ EBM  allows the pharmacist to better scrutinize physician orders to identify a more suitable medication or a less expensive alternative” .  The Pharmacist must also be well versed to deal with inquiries related to therapies, medical issues, diagnosis inquiries, prognosis, etiology, and prevention and comical problems.

The EBM enables us to avoid medical errors and cut unnecessary medical costs. The  pharmacist  has  to  employ clinical expertise to evaluate the medical condition of the individual patient and prescribe a medicine that is best for their health. The patient must be provided with  information based on evidence.   In the website  Albrecht(2009)“ Evidence”   is the data that informs about the drugs, it’ s used,   it’ s interaction with other drugs, and the latest medical  treatment for illnesses that are common and uncommon.   As a pharmacist,   a person with bipolar disorder  needs  to be assisted with great precaution as bipolar drug  interaction  with other drugs can induce problems with a patient’ s health.   A woman who plans to be pregnant need to be advised appropriately as lithium can interfere with the chances of getting pregnant.

It is not safe to take lithium when  one is planning for  pregnancy as the child can be  handicapped or born with deformities.   Bipolar is a brain disorder,   where people experience mood swings with extreme mania or depression.   Bipolar patients  with lithium  medication can get exposed to health risks during the first three months of pregnancy.

The baby can be born with heart valve problems or other illnesses and hence lithium should be avoided in initial stages of pregnancy.   According to Menon (2010)“ If  lithium is used during pregnancy, use of the lowest possible dose, close monitoring of serum levels, and appropriate monitoring of the baby are recommended” .  As a  pharmacist,   I would  advise  the women that lithium could pose health risks to the baby and she can be prescribed to folic acids to avoid complications.

The women also need to consult a psychiatrist to understand the side effects of  lithium on the baby at the fetal stage. If the woman is advised not to discontinue her medication by her  physician, then other drugs should be introduced to protect her pregnancy.   As a pharmacist, one must know entire details about drugs, its side effects, and interaction with other drugs. The Pharmacist should be able to prescribe the right drug with the right dosage to the patient to avoid a medical error. The pharmacist is a respected profession,   where they are trained highly and  delivered  specific skills to guide patients with drugs.   The health of a patient is  of  utmost importance and error in prescription can even be fatal to them.   First of all,   the verbal communication of the pharmacist needs to be  accurate as they need to respond to the patient’ s queries  appropriately.   If a pharmacist is in  confusion  then consultation should be done with the doctor.

He should also be able to work in coordination with other like physicians, drug store  staff, store clerks, and managers.   The pharmacist must also be an expert in reading prescriptions and decipher it to deliver the drugs to the patients  promptly.

A pharmacist also must be  well educated with the details of drugs with the use of pamphlets,   brochures, journals, reports, and manuals. Decision making skill is also  important for a pharmacist as  at times  he  needs to suggest the best possible drug to a patient.   Sometimes they are encountered by drug abusers who may present false medical prescriptions to acquire drugs. In such cases, verification  needs  to be made with a doctor to clarify the issue. Apart from this numeracy skill is important for the pharmacist as they need to perform calculations daily.   In his journal  Barry(2007, pg. 23-30)‘ It is vital that pharmacists can routinely perform calculations accurately, so as not to compromise patient safety or damage the reputation of the profession” .  Drug interaction is another aspect that needs  full attention from a pharmacist.

When a patient is taking two or more drugs,   chances are there that drugs will interact and pose health risks to the patient. The side – effect  or the  effectiveness of the drugs may  be decreased or increased due to the interaction of the drugs.   So  when a pharmacist guides a patient who is on  several drugs, utmost care should be taken to avoid medical complications.   Drug interaction can also cause health care costs to patients to treat the complication caused to health due to it.   As per  Oqbru(2009)“ Drug interactions contribute to the cost of healthcare because of the costs of medical care that are required to treat problems caused by changes ineffectiveness or side effects “ .  The mechanism of drug reaction can be categorized into  two as pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic interactions.

When two drugs have antagonistic or additive pharmacological effects then the pharmacodynamic interaction takes  place. In the case of pharmacokinetic  interaction,   the absorption, metabolism, distribution, and excretion of a drug  are  affected  due to another drug.

Drug interaction can cause toxicity  and inhibits  the metabolism of the drug. Since new drugs are introduced in the market  every day  the pharmacist needs to be highly alert when dealing with patients on several drugs.   Pharmacists should refer to manuals and instructions and consult  physicians to avoid health risks to  patients. Identification  of drug interaction is a challenge for pharmacists and careful interpretation of drugs and skills as a professional can help to assist the patients.  


Albrecht. 2009. Evidence-Based Medicine in Pharmacy Practice. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.uspharmacist.com/content/d/health%20systems/c/16136/. [Accessed 08 January 12].

Barry, J.G, 2007. Attitudes of Pharmacy Students and Community Pharmacists to Numeracy. An International Journal to Pharmaceutical Education, 7/2, 23-30.

Menon.L.B. 2010. Medications.. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Medications&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=51&ContentID=20820. [Accessed 09 January 12].

Oqbru, O. 2009. Drug Interactions. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.medicinenet.com/drug_interactions/article.htm. [Accessed 08 January 12]

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