How Pharmacists Can Help Educate Patients About Their Medication

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Pharmacists play a major role in the healthcare sector, and this goes beyond just prescribing drugs. They educate patients on medication maintenance and guide them on the proper dosage and usage of a drug. 

Pharmacists need to be equipped with adequate skills that help them educate their patients. This helps in lowering the side effects of drugs on patients during their medical treatments.

For those wishing to take their career in pharmacy to the next level and learn vital skills such as patient education, the pharmacy degree online offered by the University of Findlay offers both virtual and experiential learning experiences through IPPE and APPE hours. 

The accredited four-year online course provides students with all the knowledge and experience necessary for a successful career in pharmacy while having the flexibility that comes with online learning. 

This article is a complete guide on what patient education is and how a pharmacist can educate patients on their medication.

What is patient education, and why is it important in pharmacy?

Patient education, also called medication education in pharmacy, can be defined as a thorough explanation or guidance given to a patient about their prescription. It is the process of teaching patients about the side effects, dosage, quality, prescription, and usage of a particular medication. 

Patient education is significant in pharmacy, as it helps pharmacists engage with patients on a personal level.  This helps in providing actionable information that could inform how they use their drugs. It also gives patients incentives to stick to their medication plan to help them manage their health conditions better.

Educating patients about their prescriptions also helps them identify medication errors. This helps them identify when they have potential issues such as incorrect dosage or allergic reactions. Medication education is also essential for pharmacists because it helps them connect and engage with patients, which ensures their well-being and helps optimize patient health outcomes.

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Five ways a pharmacist can help educate patients about their medication

Patients can make mistakes when it comes to taking their medication. These mistakes can lead to serious health problems that can sometimes cause disabilities. That is why it is important for a pharmacist to help these patients learn about their medications.

Educating patients about their prescriptions can be productive, exciting, and fun if done the right way.

Here are five steps pharmacists can follow when educating patients about their prescriptions:

1. Explain the name, purpose, and quality of the prescription

After receiving a prescription, patients must understand its basics, and that includes the name, purpose, and quality of their prescription.

A rule of thumb is to inform patients about the generic and trade name of each of the drugs. Understanding the name of a given prescription will help patients differentiate one drug from another. 

After knowing the name of each drug, the next thing for a patient to know is the purpose of their medication. Pharmacists should explain the purpose and quality of the prescription to patients. This helps patients know what the prescription works for. 

It is also important that pharmacists educate patients on the qualities of their medications. This makes them familiar with the prescription, especially if pharmacists help them distinguish between type, color, size, texture, and shape.

2. Explain expected side effects and how to handle them

Educating patients on expected side effects after consuming a medication is also the work of a pharmacist. Depending on the drugs, pharmacists must explain the possible side effects and how the patient can handle them.

For example, if a pharmacist prescribes antibiotics for a chronic case of Malaria, they must know that eating less may lead to dizziness. This means that they must eat well, and if they cannot, advise them to drink a lot of water at intervals to avoid dehydration. 

By educating patients in this way, pharmacists can ensure that they are teaching their patients safety measures which will help them prepare for (and handle) any side effects of their medications.

3. Explain drug instructions

Failing to properly understand instructions puts the patients at risk of either underdosing or overdosing. Pharmacists should review prescriptions with their patients and encourage them to always check instructions before usage. This helps them know the exact measurements—or measuring devices for liquids—to use when taking their medications.

If a patient needs to be set up for physical training programs, pharmacists should make patients aware of the importance of such programs. This will help them stick to their routines, avoid any complications during their recovery period, and keep them healthy during their treatment.

4. Explain things to do or avoid when taking medication

Pharmacists should ensure that their patients understand the dos and don’ts of their prescriptions. For instance, some types of antibiotics and HIV medications must be taken on an empty stomach to make sure they work effectively. Explaining this to the patients will help them know that they have to take these medications an hour or two before eating. 

It all depends on their health cases and the drugs.

Also, some prescriptions make patients drowsy after taking them. You should teach the patients that these medications should not be taken before doing a major task such as driving, as it can blur their vision. Instead, these drugs can be taken close to bedtime. 

5. Explain the dangers of sharing medication

Taking unprescribed drugs can lead to heart palpitations, organ damage, organ damage, seizures, and other health issues. This is because drugs are prescribed based on the specific needs of a patient. While two patients may have the same condition, they could be prescribed different drugs or different doses based on their medical history, allergies, etc.

The onus rests on you as a pharmacist to educate people about the consequences of sharing medication. This keeps them faithful to their dosage and also helps them avoid the tragic consequences that may occur as a result of drug sharing.

Final Words

Medication education is an important aspect of global health today, and it should be taken with all seriousness. Pharmacists should be taught how to relate with patients and also understand how to monitor their prescriptions and progress. 

With patient education, patients will have full knowledge of their medications, the dos and don’ts, and how to use them. This helps in preventing the negative consequences of drug misuse and promotes good health.