4 Things You Must Do to Check if Your Patient Takes Medications Properly

Have you ever had a patient who is not taking his medication properly? If you have not experienced it yet, then you are one lucky healthcare professional. But more often than not, you will be challenged by patients who fail to adhere to their medications, whether they do it deliberately or not.

Below are a few suggested ways to evaluate your patients’ adherence to medications:

1. Ask the patient

Apparently, you will never know if you do not ask the patient. But do not resort to just asking simple questions like “are you taking the medicines as prescribed to you?” Instead, ask open-ended, probing questions to get to know if the patient indeed follows the instructions on taking his medications.

2. Ask the patient’s family and friends

If the patient denies not adhering to his recommended medications and you are not convinced about his claims, do an MTM (medication therapy management) visit to talk to the patient’s loved ones, who are likely to give you honest responses on whether the medications are being taken correctly or not.

3. Check refill records

A sensible approach is to check the pharmacy if the medications are refilled or dispensed.

4. Little to no improvement

If the patient’s body is not responding to the medications, chances are good that he is not taking the medications as advised. Also investigate for adverse effects, as a lot of patients tend to stop taking their medications or reduce the dosage if they think the new drugs are causing the side effects.

If patients do not take their medications at the right time and dosage, then what is the point of spending money for meds? This makes it important for pharmacy professionals to conduct patient adherence to medication assessment—this helps you know if failure to take medicines on time is causing the patient not to respond to the prescribed drugs.

3 Iron Supplementation Facts that Pharmacists Should Let Patients Know about

Iron supplementation is essential for patients with anemia who lack iron in their diet and body, those on dialysis, and pregnant women. As a pharmacist, it is your responsibility to ensure that your patients are armed with all the information they need to know about the iron supplement they are taking.

Make sure that each patient you are helping with treatments is aware of the things they need to know about iron supplementation.

1. Iron interacts with certain medications

Much like any other supplements and rigs, iron has several drug interactions that patients need to know. Specifically, iron interacts with two antibiotic types: quinolone and tetracyclines. If a person takes iron supplements and antibiotics at the same time, antibiotic failure is bound to occur. Iron can cause the body to resist the effects of antibiotics in the body. Thus, it is very important to ask the patient if he is taking any antibiotics before letting him take iron supplements, as they can hamper the function of antibiotics.

2. Iron supplements lead to release of dark stools

Patients who are not informed about this iron supplementation fact might get the shock of their life upon seeing their toilet bowls with black stool. This scenario might stress them out and make them think they have other health problems they are not aware of. So make sure that before your patient starts taking iron supplements, you have warned him about the possible effect of taking iron supplements on the appearance of his stool.

3. Constipation is another side effect of taking iron supplements

This side effect is unavoidable and can be very discomforting and painful to patients, especially the elderly. The least you can do for them is to let them know about iron supplements causing constipation, so they know what to expect.

The key to reducing any health risk caused by iron supplements is to educate your patients before they begin the supplementation.

4 Types of Medications that Cause Sleeplessness in Patients

A lot of medications trigger sleeplessness in patients.  Here are five medication types that cause insomnia:

Statins

Used to treat high cholesterol levels, statins such as rosuvastatin, atorvastatin, and simvastatin cause muscle aches that keep patients up at night. Worse, the pain caused by statins can even make it difficult for a person to move.

Statins disrupt muscle development by stopping its satellite cells production. Rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of skeletal muscle, is a result of muscle weakness and pain. The risk of insomnia is higher with fat-soluble statins since they can more easily enter cell membranes and go to the blood-brain barrier, which protects your brain against chemicals in the blood.

Corticosteroids

This medication type treats a wide variety of medical conditions, including respiratory problems, pain, inflammatory disorders, and allergies. Corticosteroids put too much strain in the adrenal glands, stimulating the mind and keeping the body awake. Aside from making it hard for a patient to relax and sleep, this medication may also lead to terrible dreams.

Pseudoephedrine

Pseudoephedrine and other systemic decongestants work to relieve nasal congestion for patients with colds and flu. However, they can cause sleeplessness, too. Be careful when administering pseudoephedrine to patients during the cold or allergy season.

ACE inhibitors

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors work by stopping the production of a hormone called angiotensin II that causes an increase in blood pressure. This is why ACE inhibitors are used for heart failure and high blood pressure treatments.

The downside of taking medications such as perindopril, lisinopril, benazepril, and moexipril? Electrolyte imbalance that leads to hacking, dry cough, painful joints and muscles, diarrhea, and leg cramps—and these are enough to keep a patient awake all night.

What other drugs can cause insomnia? Pharmacists should advise patients about the side effects of these types of medications, including insomnia.