Can A Pharmacist Help With Medication Adherence?
When someone is diagnosed with a condition or illness, at some point, a doctor will prescribe medication. From there, the patient is responsible for consistently taking the required medication. Adhering to the drug is a common medical problem, and Statistics show that 125,000 deaths happen every year to do medicine non-adherence. Recently, pharmacists have been playing an active role in helping patients take the correct dosage at the right time. There are several ways pharmacists can help with medication adherence that will benefit everyone.
Why does non-adherence happen?
Almost 50% of Americans have at least one prescription. Millions also take supplements to treat vitamin and mineral deficiencies. With this many people requiring medicine comes a host of reasons for non-adherence, including:
- Patients have a lack of knowledge on the importance of medication.
- Some patients stop taking medication when the symptoms subside.
- A lack of access to medicines due to socioeconomic reasons.
- Forgetfulness or life changes are a common cause since many lead busy lives.
- The patient does not accept the medical diagnosis or lacks confidence in the prescription.
Complete adherence from all patients will be elusive. However, pharmacists can make a difference by addressing these issues and others.
Building rapport with patients with counseling
Pharmacists are often the final point of contact for patients before starting a medication regimen. Some of these are community pharmacists who are well known and trusted by residents. These pharmacists can leverage these relationships by providing quick counseling sessions about the medication. Patients can ask questions and address any concerns about the drug. The pharmacist can also motivate and encourage the patient by outlining the benefits of adherence. If only for a moment, the pharmacist can increase trust in the patient.
A brown bag medication review
Some pharmacists have taken an active role in providing effective healthcare through medication reviews. Patients who take multiple medications should review all prescriptions, supplements, and ointments at least once per year. For a medication review, the patient brings all the medicines for the pharmacist to check. The assessment helps the pharmacist to unveil any issues that are causing non-adherence. Then, in just a few minutes, the patient should have up-to-date prescriptions, which improves adherence.
Non-adherence is likely to happen with patients managing multiple chronic conditions. These patients must remember to take different prescriptions at times, which can be overwhelming. Pharmacists can help resolve this through compounding. Compound pharmacies can combine multiple drugs for the same issue into a single-use form. For instance, pharmacists can merge 3 pills into one. Compounding makes taking medication easier, reduces side effects, and healthier patients.
Leverage technology to manage the patient process
Today, pharmacists aren’t limited to writing patient information on labels. Instead, technology allows pharmacists to fill prescriptions and keep a database of patients. Using data, the pharmacist can identify and follow up with non-adhering patients. This database works incredibly well if the pharmacist’s data link to the patient’s medical records. Then, if necessary, the pharmacist can coordinate with the doctor to address patient concerns. Some can even automate prescriptions so the patient has the much-needed drug on time.
Implement medicine adherence initiatives
Sometimes, the patient can’t afford the medication or is not accessible. In other cases, the medication regimen is too complex for the patient. Outreach initiatives can help with patient education and medication adjustment. Furthermore, pharmacies can enroll in private or public initiatives to reduce the cost of drugs to patients. These initiatives can provide insight into the difficulties of medication adherence. From there, simple initiatives like providing pillboxes or cheaper alternative drugs can make a difference.
Work with your pharmacist
Through different steps, pharmacists can help patients stick to the correct dosage consistently. The pharmacist-patient relationship is the most powerful of all. Trust can significantly improve the chances of adherence, and making adherence easier through compounding can also help. Of course, the pharmacist will not reach everyone, but a few make a difference. Adherence to medicines means healthier, happier patients.