CarelonRx: Medication reviews with pharmacists help better patient health

There's one healthcare professional that serves as the connection between patients, physicians, and prescriptions: Your local pharmacist. Encouraging patients to review medications with a pharmacist yearly is pivotal to bettering health outcomes for patients.

According to the CDC, from 2015 to 2018, a staggering 24 percent of Americans were using at least three prescription medications. To further complicate things, more than 40 percent of patients use more than one pharmacy.

A medication review with a pharmacist can help patients manage these complexities. During the review, pharmacists will help people review their prescriptions, identify any potential interactions they may not be aware of, offer suggestions for discarding expired medications, and identify barriers to care. They will also answer any questions patients have about their medications. Medication reviews can also empower patients to take an active role in their healthcare by fostering a better understanding of their medications and health conditions.    

People who may benefit most from a medication review include those:

  • Taking several prescriptions (five or more) regularly
  • Routinely taking over-the-counter medications, vitamins or supplements
  • Obtaining prescriptions from more than one pharmacy or provider
  • With multiple chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart failure
  • Recently hospitalized or transitioned to another care setting (such as a skilled nursing facility)

To help uncover barriers to care and promote medication adherence, a pharmacist may ask the following questions during the review/discussion:

  • "Do you know what your prescriptions are used for?"
  • "Are you taking your medications routinely/as directed?"
  • "Are you able to afford your medications?"
  • "Where is your closest pharmacy?"
  • "Do you have transportation to get there?"

National Check Your Meds Day, Oct. 21, serves as a great reminder to speak to a pharmacist about a patient's complete list of medications (prescription, over the counter and supplements). With medication reviews, pharmacists can help patients identify potential drug interactions and side effects, and even help identify cost-savings solutions.

Carelon Health (formerly CareMore Health) and CarelonRx will offer free medication reviews Oct. 16-20, leading up to National Check Your Meds Day. To speak to a pharmacist during this period, anyone can call toll free 1-833-664-0089, from 8am to 5pm PST.

As a pharmacist, I encourage you to remind your patients of the importance of reviewing their medications annually with a pharmacist. Together, we can enhance our patients' health and wellbeing.

Ami Bhatt, PharmD, is staff vice president of clinical pharmacy services at CarelonRx, an Elevance Health company.

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