The Growing Role Of Pharmacists

The accuracy and safety of medications prescribed by doctors can be essential for a patient. Taking the wrong medication or too much can have potentially dangerous consequences. Pharmacists play an active role in providing quality patient care as medication management becomes more complex. Pharmacists are integral to the healthcare team and can help patients get the most out of prescription therapy with a medication review. In some cases, the pharmacist can even switch the drug.

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Time for your review

A medication review is essential to a patient’s overall health and wellness plan. This detailed check ensures that medications are being taken appropriately and are helping rather than harming the patient. Pharmacists are extensively trained in understanding the effects of medication on a patient’s health. In addition, pharmacists understand how drug therapies, supplements, and even foods interact with one another. During a medication review, pharmacists will sit down with the patient to discuss current medications. The patient will present all prescriptions, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, and supplements. Then, the pharmacist can look for adjustments or make changes to achieve maximum effectiveness while minimizing unwanted side effects. Pharmacists can also help patients struggling to stick to medicine with further coaching and recommendations.

Can a pharmacist change prescriptions?

In most cases, a pharmacist must follow the doctor’s exact prescription, but there are a few exceptions. If the pharmacist finds interactions, dosing instructions, or other factors preventing the medication from working, a change may be necessary. In consultation with the doctor, the pharmacist can find an alternative medication that can be safely taken. Next, if the patient struggles to take the medication and there is a clear health risk, the pharmacist can provide a different form of the same drug. Sometimes, there is a new formulation of the existing medicines that may improve. In this situation, the pharmacist may be able to swap out the medication.

Generic brands and compounding

Some pharmacists can substitute a less expensive generic drug for brand-name or vice versa. These medications are as safe and effective as the original brand but cost less. However, the pharmacist must inform the patient of the substitution. In addition, the pharmacist can recommend compounding if a specific drug or drug form is unavailable. A compound pharmacist can create a customized drug to meet the patient’s needs. For example, compounding can create a liquid or topical form of a prescription for patients who report difficulty swallowing pills.

Trust the pharmacist

The role of the pharmacist is ever-evolving, with medication reviews currently offering a key benefit for patients. In some cases, the pharmacist can make small changes to prescriptions. However, if the change significantly affects treatment, the pharmacist must work with the doctor for the patient’s benefit. With a pharmacist in the patient’s corner, managing health becomes easier.


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