The Role of the Pharmacist in Managing Lupus
Never underestimate the value of a good pharmacist! They are the lupus medication experts that keep track of your treatments and have a unique perspective that can make a real difference in managing your lupus.
- Introduction to the Role of the Pharmacist in Managing Lupus
- How can a pharmacist help manage lupus?
- In Conclusion
While they cannot diagnose lupus, a pharmacist can keep those with lupus as safe and healthy as possible. Pharmacists work within lupus healthcare teams to monitor medication tolerance and other health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Pharmacists may also serve as an individual’s most direct and personal point of contact when starting new medications. They provide information and supply reasonable expectations about drug therapy. This perspective is unlike any other on the healthcare team, as they can give advice, describe their experience with others who may have used your prescriptions …. this can go a long way to helping alleviate fear and promote greater wellbeing.
Pharmacists are easily accessible – they are located throughout neighborhood pharmacies, stores, hospitals, medical universities, and clinics. They fill the gaps in care when a healthcare practitioner is not immediately available. For example, pharmacists have become integral during the current rheumatologist shortage. Pharmacists are also affordable – their expertise does not cost extra beyond the price of a prescription. They also have a considerable amount of education, including up to five years in school, sometimes a doctorate, and often a residency. Pharmacists take classes throughout their careers to keep them abreast of new drug therapies, often resulting in more current drug knowledge than other members of a lupus healthcare team.
Many healthcare practitioners rely on pharmacists. They understand their value and their vital role in providing care and treatment for those with lupus. Those with lupus should feel comfortable relying on pharmacists for both pharmaceutical expertise and patient advocacy.
Aside from the obvious – dispensing medication – pharmacists also:
- Check, and keep a record of all over-the-counter and prescribed drug interactions, food interactions, and allergic reactions.
- Understand an individual’s health history and current health condition enough to work with a healthcare team to adjust treatment accordingly.
- Provide counseling on the best ways to take medications and what to expect when starting or stopping them.
- Work with other lupus healthcare practitioners to prescribe the most effective treatment and consult when medications are not working.
- Advocate for those with lupus by working with insurance companies to cover off-label medications if they may provide better lupus symptom management.
- Educate those with lupus. Studies have shown that this helps the patient build confidence in their treatment, which improves treatment adherence, and discourages avoidance.
- Provide blood sugar and blood pressure monitoring for those at greatest risk of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Pharmacists are an essential part of any healthcare team and a trusted ally for those with lupus. Pharmacists can help improve overall quality of life by sharing their expertise and insight, which can help those with lupus confidently play an active role in their healthcare journey.
Flick, C. & Farrell, J. (1, August 2013). The pharmacist’s role in managing rheumatic diseases. The Rheumatologist. https://www.the-rheumatologist.org/article/the-pharmacists-role-in-managing-rheumatic-diseases/
Rotolo, S., Cameron, G., Edens, C., & Talevski, C. (2020). Pharmacist role in an outpatient adolescent complex pediatric lupus clinic [abstract]. Arthritis & Rheumatology, (supplement 4). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/pharmacist-role-in-an-outpatient-adolescent-complex-pediatric-lupus-clinic/
Sah, S., R, S., Ramesh, M., & Chang, S. (2020). Impact of pharmacist care in the management of autoimmune disorders: a systematic review of randomized control trials and non-randomized studies. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sapharm.2020.12.005
Shah, A., Jay, A., Pfund, T., Akers, J. (2019). Pharmacists’ role in chronic disease management from physicians’ perspective. Innovations in Pharmacy, 10(2). https://dx.doi.org/10.24926%2Fiip.v10i2.1449
Zhang, L., Geng, S., Qian, L., Ye, S., Wang, X., Lu, G., Ding, Y., & Li, T. (2019). Multidisciplinary care in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: a randomized controlled trial in China. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 41, 1247-1255. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11096-019-00870-y
Author: Liz Heintz
Liz Heintz is a technical and creative writer who received her BA in Communications, Advocacy, and Relational Communications from Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego, Oregon. She most recently worked for several years in the healthcare industry. A native of San Francisco, California, Liz now calls the beautiful Pacific Northwest home.
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All resources provided by us are for informational purposes only and should be used as a guide or for supplemental information, not to replace the advice of a medical professional. The personal views expressed here do not necessarily encompass the views of the organization, but the information has been vetted as a relevant resource. We encourage you to be your strongest advocate and always contact your healthcare practitioner with any specific questions or concerns.