The Role of Your Pharmacist in COPD Management
Last updated: June 2023
When people think of their circle of care for COPD management, they tend to think about their nurse, pulmonologist, and general practitioner, among others. However, there is an allied healthcare professional within everyone’s care that is often overlooked: The pharmacist.
Pharmacists have time and time again been voted the most trusted healthcare professionals. Their role in helping people manage their chronic health conditions is becoming increasingly more recognized.1
The following article will outline the various services that your pharmacist can provide you to help manage your COPD better.
How can they help?
Pharmacies are open at convenient times, with some pharmacies open 24/7! It is rare that patients can call their doctor for a consultation in the evening, but a pharmacist is usually available well into the night if you have questions.
While pharmacists can’t make a diagnosis, they help identify and resolve drug-related problems, are knowledgeable about drug-related side effects, and can provide recommendations for minor ailments.
There are several services that your pharmacist can offer to help you manage your COPD or any other chronic condition you may have. These services are outlined below.
If you are on multiple medications and it is becoming confusing to keep track of them all, most pharmacies provide the option to book a private 1-on-1 session with the pharmacist.
The time will be spent going over your medications in depth. If any drug-related problems are identified, your pharmacist will usually connect with your doctor to inform them of the issue. This service is often provided at no cost to the patient.
When you are prescribed a new drug, your doctor may not have time to go over the drug in extensive detail. This is where your pharmacist steps in.
Pharmacists can inform you of the most common side effects and identify whether there are drug interactions with your other medications.
If you are prescribed a drug that is not covered, your pharmacist may help you identify other agents that are covered by your insurance.
They may connect with the doctor and provide their recommendation so that a new prescription is sent over.
We have all had to deal with emergencies where we run out of medications before we are able to connect with our doctor for a new prescription.
In these cases, your pharmacist may provide you with an extension or emergency refill so that you don’t have to go without your medication.
There are several vaccines that are recommended if you have COPD; some of them are a 1-time series, others are recommended yearly.
Most pharmacists are able to administer vaccines, which is often more convenient than waiting at your doctor’s office to have the vaccine administered there.
Prescribing for minor ailments
Depending on where you live, pharmacists can even prescribe medications to treat acute conditions. Not all pharmacists are prescribing pharmacists; an additional certification is required to gain this designation.
Examples of medications that pharmacists may prescribe are antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection, steroid cream for a rash, or an anti-inflammatory gel for muscle pain. Note that pharmacists cannot prescribe controlled substances such as narcotics.
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