Dear Editor: The Commercial:

Dear Editor: The Commercial:

Are you utilizing your pharmacist to their fullest potential?

Pharmacists do much more than just fill prescriptions ó they are an integral part of the healthcare team and are becoming more involved in improving patient outcomes.

Today, incoming pharmacists in the United States must complete a Doctorate of Pharmacy program at an accredited institution. They also must obtain licensure from their respective state board of pharmacy. On a daily basis pharmacists safely dispense medications and check for mistakes and possible drug interactions. They also counsel patients on possible side effects and on proper usage of medication to improve patient compliance. Overall, a pharmacistís job is to make sure that the patient receives both safe and effective prescriptions that will improve quality of life.

There are many new ways pharmacists are helping improve the health and wellbeing of their patients. For example, most community pharmacies now offer immunizations including seasonal flu shots. Administering immunizations at pharmacies is convenient to the patient and helps pharmacists get more involved in community health improvement. Another way for pharmacists to help patients is through medication therapy management. In medication therapy management a pharmacist analyzes and optimizes a particular patientís current medication regimen by making recommendations to the patientís doctor. These recommendations include discontinuing or changing ineffective medications, switching to cheaper medications, and switching to newer, therapeutically superior drug forms. This results in a more effective and cost efficient situation for the patient.

Pharmacists are an integral part of the healthcare team and serve as the link between the patient and physician.

Matt Devers

Pine Bluff native