Living with Chronic Pain
Pharmacists as Allies for Individuals with Chronic Pain
For many individuals with chronic pain, pharmacists are just seen as the “gatekeepers” of the medications needed to provide necessary pain relief. However, pharmacists are much more than that. Pharmacists can be allies for individuals with chronic pain, providing additional support, information and resources.
Individuals who consult with pharmacists may experience less pain and improved function. Researchers at Southeast Dallas Health Center and Parkland Hospital found that individuals who participated in a pharmacy consult while hospitalized experienced lower pain scores and improved functionality. Pharmacist interventions that led to these improvements included adjusting medication dosages, adding or removing medications, switching medication delivery methods (e.g., IV medication to oral medication), and recommending treatments for side effects.
Pharmacists provide a wealth of knowledge.
In addition to possessing a wealth of knowledge about prescription medications, pharmacists can answer questions about over-the-counter medications, supplements, and devices (e.g., blood pressure monitors, etc.) as well as the management of medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.). They are knowledgeable about medication side effects and can often recommend a simple solution for those effects, such as adjusting the timing of dosages or whether to take medication with food.
Pharmacists help protect customers.
When pharmacists fill a prescription, they check for potential issues, such as incorrect dosages, drug allergies and interactions among medications. If an issue is identified, the pharmacist can contact the prescribing physician to find an alternative solution. For individuals with chronic pain who may require multiple prescriptions, these safety checks are especially important to help prevent serious complications.
Pharmacists can help individuals save money.
The cost of medications to manage chronic pain can add up quickly. Pharmacists can help reduce costs by recommending alternate or generic brands, savings cards, cost- saving programs, and more.
Pharmacists do much more than simply fill prescriptions; they can be a valuable source of support for individuals with chronic pain.