The Expanding Role of the Pharmacist Medication Reviews

Jun 28, 2011

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

There is an old joke pharmacists just have to learn how to read a doctors writing and have to be able to count pills in a tray. This is perhaps what a pharmacist would do back in the day, but it is definitely not what we spend a lot of time doing now and we will be doing even less in the future.

The role of the pharmacist is changing, sometimes too slowly for our liking, but it is changing. Although I still check a lot of prescriptions in the average day, I also spend a lot of time using what we call clinical skills. This time includes speaking to doctors about medication changes, conducting medication reviews at personal care homes with nurses or doctors and counseling patients on new medications. I also do asthma consults, teach patients how to use inhalers and spend time taking blood pressures, blood glucose levels and cholesterol levels. In some other Canadian provinces pharmacists are providing immunization services and can actually prescribe or repeat medications for their patients.

One of the things we, at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy are attempting to promote is medication reviews. If you are someone who is on three or more medications and suffer from a chronic disease, it is likely beneficial for you to have a medication review.

During a medication review a pharmacist examines the patients medication list which includes prescriptions, over the counter medications and herbal medications. When a pharmacist is conducting a medication review they may be able to find medications you do not need. A pharmacist can also identify possible medication interactions with other medications or even with things such as food. A medication review will also find side effects which may be causing troublesome problems. If you are having trouble sleeping, it could be caused by one of your pills. If you are feeling tired throughout the day it could be caused by one of your pills. If you commonly have sore muscles it could be caused by one of your pills.

A pharmacist may be able to recommend similar medications with fewer side effects. We may be able to change the time you take your medications so it does not interfere with staying awake or falling asleep. Most importantly we will explain why you need to take the medications you are taking. No one should ever take a pill and not know the reasoning for it.

In Ontario the provincial government funds a program allowing anyone on three or more medications to receive an annual medication review. The government pays a community pharmacist to sit down for 20 to 30 minutes with the patient to discuss their medications. They will also pay for a pharmacist to do this in the patients home. For diabetics, the Ontario government will pay the pharmacist to provide regular support services to the patient. These programs are fantastic news for pharmacists as we can now have a more integral role in patient care. A medication review also assists the family physician for better patient care and it also frees up some of their time.

While the Manitoba Government does not pay for pharmacy services in our province we do offer similar services free of charge at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy. We do free asthma consults, free diabetic counseling and free medication reviews. If you need help learning how to use an insulin needle or an asthma inhaler we are available to help you and your family members. If you want us to do a medication review on your medications, we will also do that. Best of all we do this all of this in the comfort of your own home for our customers.

If you are on multiple medications and have questions about the pills you are taking please feel free to give us a call. Once again, we are more than happy to do this in your own home or at the pharmacy.

We now have this and most other articles published in the Parkland Shopper on our Website. Please visit us at

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

As always if you have any questions or concerns about these products, ask your pharmacist.

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