Author: Sandi B.

Blindness Due to Giant Cell ArteritisGiant cell arteritis is the most common form of systemic vasculitis in adults, yet it often goes undiagnosed until its most common complication—acute loss of vision and permanent blindness—sends them to the emergency department. This frightening and serious event can be avoided with early treatment, but first symptoms must be recognized. It’s a task accomplished with patient education. Pharmacists who take the time to talk with older patients about a few key symptoms can help them prevent blindness due to giant cell arteritis.

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.

Association of Proton Pump Inhibitors and Clostridium Difficile InfectionThe association between proton pump inhibitors and Clostridium difficile has been debated for years. Since PPIs are generally safe and Clostridium difficile is known as a nosocomial infection, community pharmacists may not give the association much consideration. But it’s time for an update.

In recent years, community-acquired Clostridium difficile infections have been on the rise. Even though studies have produced conflicting results, proton pump inhibitors are considered a risk factor for C. difficile infections—especially in certain high-risk groups. Pharmacists need to know the latest information so they can counsel patients about proton pump inhibitors and Clostridium difficile infection.

Improve Inadequate Medication Adherence in Parkinson’s PatientsYou’ve heard it before—pharmacists can improve adherence by reaching out to patients—but it’s crucial to bring it up again because inadequate medication adherence in Parkinson’s patients leads to a cycle of worsening outcomes. After developing a protocol, counseling won’t take a lot of your time, yet the benefits are immeasurable. Pharmacists who intervene can touch a substantial number of people with Parkinson’s, helping them achieve better symptom management and the chance to enjoy daily life, while saving health care costs and avoiding hospitalization.

 Chronic Hand DermatitisWhat begins as a simple case of dry hands can turn into a significant health concern when the patient actually has chronic hand dermatitis. As the condition thickens skin and causes deep, painful cracks, it interferes with the ability to perform on the job and to do everyday tasks.

Only about half of these patients seek professional dermatological care, which means many self-treat. As a result, they depend on pharmacists to recommend OTC products when their symptoms don’t clear up. Pharmacists can use this opportunity to counsel about treatment options and to identify patients who should consult a physician.

Teach Asthma Inhaler Technique to ChildrenNo child should ever have to struggle to take in air or suffer when every breath is painful. Yet prevalence is on the rise. As if that isn’t bad enough, children with asthma face a higher risk of comorbidities that interfere with socialization, cause trouble at school, and lead to chronic health conditions.

Now stop to consider how difficult it is for children to use asthma inhalers properly, which means they may not get the right amount of medication—that’s if they even use it since adherence rates are low. It’s not an encouraging state of affairs but it can get better for children and their parents when pharmacists intervene to teach about medications and inhaler technique.