Managing your arthritis along with other health conditions can be a lot to handle. People taking more than one drug are at increased risk of interactions, not to mention potential confusion about timing and dosage when taking over-the-counter and prescription medicines. Fortunately, getting the answers you need is as easy as stopping by your neighborhood pharmacy.
More than just dispensing meds, pharmacists can provide information about your disease; review your medications and advise you about them; and recommend drug types, dosages and scheduling for over-the-counter medicines. A 2010 study in the journal Medical Care found that patients are healthier when a pharmacist is an active part of their healthcare team.
Lead study author Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, at department of pharmacy practice and science at University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, and researchers analyzed the results of 298 studies. They found that inclusion of pharmacists in patient care led to improved outcomes in a number of important areas, such as better diabetes control, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Pharmacist participation was also associated with a nearly 50% decrease in adverse drug reactions, fewer medication errors, improved patient compliance with drug regimens, and higher overall quality-of-life scores. Patients who regularly consulted pharmacists had lower mortality rates and were better able to control their weight than patients who did not.
“The same philosophy goes in [managing] any chronic disease, including arthritis,” Chisholm-Burns says. If asked, pharmacists can advise people with arthritis not only on weight issues, but also with managing pain, she adds.
Ask your pharmacist to conduct a review of the drugs you take. Mention any problems you’re having, and if the pharmacist suggests changes, ask him to talk with your doctor.
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