For Patients, It's All in the Name

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Patients who know their pharmacist's name have better medication-use habits, according to the results of a national survey commissioned by the American Pharmacists Association. These patients are more willing to tell their pharmacist the other medicines they are currently taking; read product labels all the time (47%); know the main ingredients of the prescription medicines they are taking (61%); and use their pharmacist as a source of information on medicines (93%).

Some of the respondents, however, do not think of the pharmacist as a valuable resource. In fact, many patients do not make use of their pharmacist's experience, education, and knowledge of medicines. Of the 1565 respondents, 35% know their pharmacist's name but are more likely to be on a first-name basis with their hairdresser (56%), compared with their pharmacist (21%).

The survey also revealed that patients have beliefs or habits that can significantly increase their risk of medication- use problems. These habits can be changed, however. A major part of respecting the power of medication is having the information on how to use it safely and effectively—information pharmacists can provide.