Written by Elizabeth Eichel, PharmD, BCPP
The role of a pharmacist has changed over the years. While one may remember a time when compounding and dispensing was their livelihood, the profession of pharmacy now encompasses much more. "Medication therapy management (MTM)" is a term that involves identifying, resolving, and preventing drug-related problems.1
In addition, physicians are beginning to understand the value of a pharmacist’s opinion. For example, one study found that, when dealing with care of the elderly, 90% of general-practitioners welcomed pharmacist input2, while another stated that 47-50% of pharmacist recommendations were followed by physicians3.
Your medication record may not be complete in any given pharmacy if you fill your prescriptions from more than one pharmacy. A complete medication record would assist your pharmacist of choice to intervene on your behalf if medication problems were detected.
Committing to one pharmacy allows a relationship to grow between you and your pharmacist. Convenience can come out of this rapport, such as knowing the store’s hours and encouraging one to ask questions about minor conditions or over-the-counter products. Just remember, pharmacies are typically open longer hours compared to a physician’s office, you get immediate attention and, since the pharmacy cannot be open without a pharmacist, it guarantees one will always be there.
Aside from convenience, a pharmacist’s clinical approach is one of the most important reasons to use one pharmacy. When a pharmacist is filling your prescription, he / she is not just counting pills but reviewing your medication history on a continuous basis.
This is where MTM comes into play. The pharmacist is looking at your medication profile and reviews drug allergies to avoid cross-sensitivity, evaluates potential drug interactions, checks compliance to ensure you are getting the full benefit of the medication, checks for medication duplication (when a patient has 2 or more medications that give the same effect) and potentially looks for cost savings for you, the patient.
In summary, pharmacists take their professional relationship with the public very seriously. They strive to offer excellent MTM. This is why you should have a pharmacy of choice.
1 Rollason V and Vogt N. Reduction of Polypharmacy in the Elderly. Drugs Aging 2003; 11: 817-32
2 Bernsten C et al. Improving the Well-Being of Elderly Patients via Community Pharmacy-Based Provision of Pharmaceutical Care. Drugs Aging 2001; 18: 63-77
3 Doucette WR et al. Comprehensive Medication Therapy Management: Identifying and Resolving Drug-Related Issues in a Community Pharmacy Clin Ther 2005; 27: 1104-1111
NAMI Wishes to thank the College of Psychiatric and Neurological Pharmacists for their participation in writing our medication fact sheets and for writing our "Ask the Psychiatric Pharmacist" questions and answers.