How many times a pharmacist interventions prevents a major drug-drug or drug food interactions? I wonder if there were no pharmacists, we would have had some many casualties related to these adverse drug reactions. According to fda’s article, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-interactions-labeling/preventable-adverse-drug-reactions-focus-drug-interactions :
“The Institute of Medicine reported in January of 2000 that from 44,000 to 98,000 deaths occur annually from medical errors.1 Of this total, an estimated 7,000 deaths occur due to ADRs.”
In countries like US, the practice of pharmacy is so much organized and clinical allowing pharmacists to be integral part of healthcare, helping clinicians with preventing duplication of therapy, drug interactions, promoting patient education and adherence. In countries where pharmacy practice is not so much regulated and clinical, the number of deaths due to drug interactions are significantly higher. In a big country like India, where pharmacies are just treated like “commodity stores”, doctors are too busy to even look at patients’ files, poor patients are pretty much on their own. Can you imagine, how these elderly patients deal with 20 different medications from several doctors? Not surprised, I have witnessed issues like duplication, drug interactions and suboptimal treatment with my own mother who lives in India. I have to intervene periodically so my mom can live longer. Because systems are not integrated, absence of electronic health records and reporting, there is not much data available indicating casualties due to ADRs in India.
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If a patient who suffers from conditions diabetes , hypertension, hyperlipidemia finds out that he/she is diagnosed with cancer, then guess what, the person can be completely devastated. And complicate that with the age factor. How does this patient manage his/her medications? How does he/she coordinate with different doctors? How does she make sure that the different medications do not interact with each other? How can she stay adherent to all of her medications? Patients like these need help with managing their medications. So please consult your pharmacist and ask for a comprehensive medication review.
Even third-parties have realized how important it is to help their members with their medications to prevent hospitalizations, ER visits and deaths. That’s why, they reimburse pharmacists for MTM services to save themselves millions and billions!
Medication adherence and health care costs
As per the article by Aurel O Luga and Maura J McGuire: “Between $100 and $300 billion of avoidable health care costs have been attributed to nonadherence in the US annually, representing 3% to 10% of total US health care costs.7,38While there is substantial information relating nonadherence to poor patient outcomes, relatively few high quality studies report the impact on costs. The cost of nonadherence is generally determined by using administrative data to evaluate health care costs in populations of patients who are adherent compared to costs of populations of patients who are nonadherent. Systematic reviews of adherence note that differences in design, cost definitions, and included diagnosis (International Classification of Diseases [ICD]-9) groups, have varying levels of attributable-cost and make comparison of outcomes challenging. Over the last decade, the impact of adherence has been evaluated in association with numerous illnesses, including cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, metabolic, infectious, and psychiatric diseases. Representative findings are presented in our review, including summaries of systematic reviews when available.”
Just by taking your medications regularly on schedule properly prevents exacerbations and hospitalizations. There are a lot of creative ways that you can improve your adherence: setting up alarms, using some handy apps, use of pill boxes, use of auto refills, etc.
Bottomline: Talk to your pharmacist today and see how he/she can help your live longer and healthier.