Betty Chaffee, PharmD, is owner and sole proprietor of BetterMyMeds, a Medication Management service devoted to helping people get the maximum benefit from their medications.
Do you (or does someone you love) .......
...take more than two prescription medications?
...see more than one doctor?
...ever wonder what your medications are supposed to do, or if they're actually doing it?
...wonder if there's something less expensive that would do the same thing?
...miss doses of medication because you forget, or because your medication schedule is too complicated?
...just wish someone would explain your medications and answer all your questions?
IF YOU ANSWERED "YES" TO ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS, YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM MEDICATION MANAGEMENT!
Medication Management is a patient-centered medical service provided by pharmacists. As medication experts on the heathcare team, we look at medication use through a different lens than other healthcare professionals, and for that reason can often see things that others can't.
Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to prevent, identify, and resolve medication-related problems. I have encountered many patients who have been taking the same medications for many years, and as they've aged they've encountered problems like extreme fatigue, dry mouth, inability to urinate, frequent cough. They assume it's just part of aging, when in fact the problem is being caused by one of the medications. Once that problem is identified and resolved, the side effect is gone and life gets easier!
Pharmacists are also able to sift through information to determine whether each medication is necessary. Often, medication regimens evolve gradually -- first one medication is prescribed, then another, then another, then a dietary supplement or two are added in. Next thing you know, the list of medications has gotten out of hand. Sometimes the expense may be high, other times the sheer complexity of the regimen gets hard to handle every day. Medication Management is a way to asses the need for each medication, and simplify the regimen as much as possible to decrease costs and make life easier.
Because we are trained for years in the best use of medicines, pharmacists also know what questions to ask to ensure that medications are being used correctly. Try as they might, prescribers simply don't have the time or experience to reinforce the correct use of medications. Inhalers for lung diseases are a great example of medications that are often used incorrectly, resulting in many people who spend quite a bit of money on these devices and then don't get the intended health benefit from them. Insulin pens may be used incorrectly. Even oral tablets may be taken at the wrong times or with the wrong frequency. And the kicker is that most people don't realize when medications are being used incorrectly. It takes a pharmacist who is aware of what mistakes are often made to ask the right questions, identify problems with medication use, then reinforce the correct use of the product to improve health outcomes.
The medication-related problems discussed here are just a few of those that a pharmacist trained in medication management can help resolve. No one wants to spend money or energy on prescriptions that aren't doing their job. No matter how many medications you take, or whether you believe you need help with them, seek out the help of a skilled pharmacist to make sure you are getting the best health benefit from them! Contact us at BetterMyMeds today!