February 2017

Post-Stroke Depression Prevention Post-stroke depression has been recognized for decades, yet the first scientific statement on the condition wasn’t published until December 2016. The report released by the American Heart Association (AHA) delivers some key pieces of information that are vital for pharmacist counseling.

The high incidence of post-stroke depression, the fact that it increases mortality—and that it may be preventable—point to the critical role of patient awareness and education. Pharmacists can help enhance physical and cognitive recovery from a stroke by encouraging patients to talk with their doctor about post-stroke depression prevention.

Pediatric Hypertension ScreeningHypertension has earned a place on the list of adult chronic diseases that are now being diagnosed in children. The problem is that experts are still refining some vital details, like the extent to which high blood pressure at an early age predicts adult disease and the best approach to pediatric hypertension screening.

Another concern with blood pressure screening in children is the risk of false positives, which may lead to higher medical costs and anxiety or confusion in parents and children. Pharmacists can help solve these concerns by offering BP screenings and counseling, but even if you don’t take that step, be prepared to field questions from parents.

Revised COPD treatment guidelinesWhen the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) released their revised 2017 COPD treatment guidelines, they made some key changes that pharmacists should know about, but there’s a larger issue that’s more likely to affect your daily pharmacy practice—the significant prevalence of nonadherence to COPD therapies. Pharmacists are among the top influencers when it comes to boosting compliance, so once you know about the factors that impact adherence, you’ll be better equipped to counsel patients and improve medication outcomes.

Improve Hidradenitis Suppurativa AwarenessEarly diagnosis and treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa is the only way to stop its progression to a painful and debilitating disease. But first, it must be recognized at an early stage, which is a challenge since initial symptoms often seem like nothing more than a mild case of acne.

Pharmacist outreach to at-risk patients is essential. As you educate patients about this skin condition and raise hidradenitis suppurativa awareness, you give them the chance to see their physician while it’s still in an early stage.

cardiac autonomic neuropathy symptoms and diabetesDiabetic patients are usually well aware of the risks of peripheral neuropathy, but they don’t always know that they also face a high chance of developing cardiac autonomic neuropathy. Pharmacists should take every opportunity to raise awareness of this type of neuropathy and to remind patients that only tight control of blood glucose can prevent irreparable nerve damage. Counseling about cardiac autonomic neuropathy symptoms gives patients the opportunity to seek an assessment and avoid the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality that comes along with this form of diabetic neuropathy.