This month's issue is devoted to conditions that affect the central nervous system(CNS) and the ever-increasing role that pharmacists play in their treatment, diagnosis,and medication therapy. By their nature, conditions that fall under the CNS umbrellapresent unique challenges and often require coordination among a care team that caninclude primary care physicians, specialists, mental health professionals, managedcare executives, and—yes—pharmacists.
In his illuminating piece on how little most Americans know about mental illness,Guido Zanni, PhD, points out the alarming fact that a large percentage of people areunaware that viable treatment options for mental illness exist. As Dr. Zanni rightlypoints out, there is a tremendous opportunity for the pharmacist to intervene in aneducational capacity with those who present with either untreated symptoms or showsigns of failure to comply with medication therapy.
Other articles this month include an informative piece on slowing the course ofAlzheimer's disease (AD). As the authors note in their introduction, "Because nonpharmacologictreatments are the mainstay of caring for the patient with AD, thepharmacist plays a pivotal role in reinforcing important counseling points with familymembers and caregivers. Education for the AD patient's caregiver has shown toimprove caregiver satisfaction, knowledge, and confidence. It also has been knownto potentially delay nursing home placement?" Pharmacists have a key role to playin identifying adverse effects of concomitant medications and suggesting therapeuticalternatives.
Additional articles with a CNS focus this month include a feature on treatment ofmultiple sclerosis, a primer on anxiety disorders and their treatment, an educationpiece for your patients on how to deal with depression, and an in-depth look at theissues pharmacists must be aware of when assisting patients who have addictions orare in recovery. The latter article, in particular, includes a great deal of practical informationyou can use in your daily interactions with patients.
Also this month, we are revisiting the topic of the "Pharmacy as a Health CareDestination." Late winter and early spring are often the busiest time for pharmacies, ascolds, flu outbreaks, and just-emerging allergies send consumers to the pharmacy fora host of OTC remedies, and, often, the advice of the pharmacist—the most accessibleand among the most trusted health care professionals.
In addition to our CNS coverage, you'll find our regular mix of news, features, andcolumns that endeavors to keep you up-to-date on?well, just about everything. Asyour role expands, we hope to expand along with it, providing counseling, tips, news,continuing education, and features to complete that third component—knowledge—which, alongside accessibility and trust, makes pharmacists an invaluable part of thehealth care team.
Thank you for reading.
Michael J. Hennessy