October is American Pharmacists Month – Know Your Pharmacist – Know Your Medicine!

by Allie Fay, Pharm.D., CPP

October is American Pharmacist Month, and The Family Health Centers now has two clinical pharmacists available to see you for your medication needs. Dr. Dana Arrington is caring for patients of our Asheville and Arden locations, and Dr. Allie Fay is serving the patients at our Hominy Valley office in Candler.

What is a clinical pharmacist?
• A clinical pharmacist is educated and trained in specific patient care environments. They complete at least 6 years of college and specialized residency training, graduate from a college of pharmacy, and complete a state board license exam. Your pharmacist at The Family Health Centers works with your usual provider to ensure that the medications you are prescribed work best for your current conditions.
• Clinical pharmacists in North Carolina, also called Clinical Pharmacist Practitioners (CPP), are pharmacists with a special license and agreement with a doctor’s office to provide drug therapy management. With this agreement and protocol, these pharmacists are able to prescribe certain medications, changes in doses of medicines, and order of lab work.

What can a clinical pharmacist do for me at my doctor’s office?
• Help manage your health problems with your usual provider to create an optimal medication regimen for your current conditions.  Conditions clinical pharmacists commonly see are diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart failure, asthma/COPD, and pain but can help manage most other conditions!
• Review all your medications (e.g. prescription, vitamins, supplements) to evaluate the appropriateness, safety and effectiveness of your regimen.
• Help you understand each of your medications and how best to take them.
• Provide resources and alternatives to optimize the affordability of your medications.
• Answer your medication-related questions.
• Teach you how to use your insulin vials or pens, inhalers, or other devices.
• Provide education around healthy lifestyle changes for pre-diabetes, diabetes and other chronic medical conditions.
• Perform your Medicare Annual Wellness Visits. Pharmacists focus on preventative care for each patient, and medication reviews are a large part of these visits!

Questions to ask a pharmacist at your appointment…
• How do each of my medications work?
• When and how should I take my medications?
• What if I forget to take my medications?
• How do each of my medications interact with each other?
• Should I expect any side effects?
• How should I store my medications?

Interested in learning more about your medicine? Schedule an appointment today with one of the clinical pharmacists at any of The Family Health Centers’ three locations.