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What pharmacies can do to help

May 22nd,2024 | Letters

The Editor,

In response to the article “More patients will die: ER doctor” (April 24 edition), we would like to share information on the manner in which pharmacists and their teams can help patients and what you can do to help. 

As you may or may not know, pharmacists’ scope of practice has been expanding over recent years and new health conditions keep being added to our list of prescribing authority. We can prescribe and counsel for tick bites (post exposure, if a preventative antibiotic is required); skin rashes such as poison ivy or recurring eczema; nausea and vomiting in pregnancy; gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); initiate treatment for shingles if the head isn’t involved; and treat a recurring urinary tract infection in women, to name but a few.

We are also capable of making dosage adjustments to medications to either improve tolerance or reach a health target in certain chronic conditions such as: high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, hypothyroidism, chronic pain, migraines and respiratory disease. 

We are also available to extend prescriptions for continuity of care, assist patients navigate the healthcare system and possibly help to avoid a visit to a clinic or emergency room in appropriate cases. This also means that pharmacy teams are more and more solicited. 

Here’s how you can help us, help you:

  • Refill your medication in advance. Many pharmacies ask for a minimum lead time of two to three hours for prescription refills. Twenty-four hours [is best];
  • Use technology when possible. Sign up for pre-authorized refills or use the mobile application or website to renew your prescriptions or access your online pharmacy record. You can even download your own income tax report;
  • Provide us with information to help you such as letting us know when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you are thinking of taking a new herbal supplement so that we can check for interactions with your medication. Let us [also] know for which conditions you are being treated;
  • Plan in advance when possible…we typically have reduced staff during evenings and weekends;
  • Ask for a print-out of your medications to show healthcare professionals at appointments. …There’s even a convenient wallet-sized version, which you can carry with you at all times;
  • Be kind. The healthcare system is under a lot of pressure and [we are] at times short-staffed and/or have new employees in training;
  • Be aware that these solutions won’t always apply or be appropriate for your needs. For example, while you may consider your health issue to be minor [we may] need to refer you to a physician or nurse practitioner.

Do not hesitate to talk to your pharmacist. Phone with questions or concerns, or ask in person; we also have consultation rooms, and they’re there to be used and provide privacy.

Nadine LaCasse and Sébastien Aubin, 

Pharmacist Owners (Brunet Wakefield) 

Note: certain fees may apply for some of these services. All Quebec pharmacists are authorized to provide the services mentioned in this letter. This does not mean, however, that the services are provided at all times and by all pharmacists.

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