"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]