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New Initiative Emphasizes Importance of Pharmacist Consultations

Author: Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor

CVS/pharmacy has introduced a new initiative to educate patients about the importance of pharmacist consultations and the critical role pharmacists play in managing ongoing medications for chronic illnesses, especially when starting a new medication.

With Care 1on1, the national chain offers patients “dedicated one-on-one time with a pharmacist to discuss savings, safety, and side effects when their prescription is transferred or filled for the first time.”

According to the CDC, nearly half of Americans take at least one prescription drug per month, yet many do not seek guidance from their pharmacist, the health care professional who can be the most helpful when it comes to medications.

What’s more, up to 50% of chronically ill individuals stop taking their medication within the first year, due to a number of factors including cost, side effects, and the challenges associated with taking multiple medications—all concerns that pharmacists can help address. In fact, CVS Caremark research shows a pharmacist in a face-to-face setting is the most effective healthcare professional at encouraging patients to take medications as prescribed.

"Patients with chronic health issues like asthma, or chronic diseases like diabetes, often take more than one medication—each with its own set of directions and possible side effects," says Papatya Tankut, RPh, vice president of Pharmacy Professional Services at CVS Caremark, in a statement. "Our pharmacists are here to help patients get the most out of their medications once they leave the doctor's office. Taking the time to speak to a pharmacist about your prescriptions can make a difference in the overall improvement of your health, particularly for those who are starting a new prescription."

When patients spend time with a CVS pharmacist through CARE 1on1, they will receive a personal review of their new ongoing medication filled at CVS/pharmacy and discuss ways to manage side effects, save money and stick to a medication routine.

CVS/pharmacy offers the following tips for patients who are taking new prescriptions:
  1. Plan your medication schedule: If you are taking more than one medication, ask the pharmacist which ones can be taken together or need to be taken separately.
  2. Make medications part of your daily routine: Take your medications at the same time you do something else every day.
  3. Use organization tools: Remind yourself to take your medicine by posting a sticky note, setting a watch or timer, using a pill organizer or creating a check-off chart. Your CVS pharmacist can recommend the right tool for you.
  4. Speak with your pharmacist about side effects or a missed dose: Although many medications are well tolerated, you may experience mild side effects when your body adjusts to a new medication. Do not stop taking your medication until you speak with your pharmacist. Call or visit your CVS pharmacist if you miss a dose and are unsure of what to do.
For more information on CARE 1on1, click here.