New Frontiers for Pharmacists: Administration of Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics
Pharmacists have growing opportunities to help people living with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Pharmacists have growing opportunities to help people living with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Those who are interested in learning about the advantages of pharmacist-administered long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAIAs) should mark their calendars for a 1.5-hour virtual symposium offered for live continuing education credits. Two experts in this area, Lindsey Miller, PharmD, BCPP, and Karleen Melody, PharmD, BCACP, will cover key issues related to mental health disorders and medication administration in-depth during a live broadcast on August 21, 2019 at 7 pm ET.
Dr. Miller, a clinical pharmacist at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital and associate professor at Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy in Nashville, Tennessee, and Dr. Melody, a clinical coordinator at SunRay Drugs and associate professor of clinical pharmacy at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will cover the expanding role of pharmacists in this area and how they can contribute to improving outcomes.
Studies have repeatedly documented high nonadherence rates, roughly 50%, for patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. At 18 months after treatment initiation, nonadherence may be as high as 74%. Nonadherence is associated with increased relapse rates, frequent hospitalizations, increased costs, and greater morbidity and mortality. LAIAs are a practical choice to ensure medication persistence. Physicians, psychiatrists, and their staffs have traditionally administered LAIAs in their offices, but patients often skip appointments. Several factors contribute to reluctance to go to the doctor’s office, and these include:
- A fragmented mental health system with limited office hours
- Significant stigma associated with psychiatric diagnoses and visits
- Poor access to providers willing to support them despite their cognitive and behavioral limitations
Receiving LAIAs in a pharmacy offers patients convenient, expanded access to care. It also streamlines care and reduces stigma by eliminating the need to visit a mental health facility to receive treatment. Pharmacists have the necessary skill set to provide services to patients, including education and counseling, identification of drug therapy issues, and breaking down the barriers to access such as cost and insurance coverage.
Currently, pharmacists have the authority to administer vaccinations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia; however, only 44 states permit pharmacists to administer LAIA medications. Other states have specific requirements and the presenters will touch on them. Dr. Miller and Dr. Melody will cover legislative changes that have expanded pharmacists’ roles in administration of long-acting injectable medications. A thorough understanding of the steps needed to comply with state law is critical for pharmacists who want to establish LAIA administration services.
Patients with mental illnesses often require lifelong therapy. Pharmacists see many patients with schizophrenia in all care settings, and this continuing education activity will ensure that pharmacies can offer a full complement of care and services. Given the increasing number of LAIAs and each drug’s unique formulation, administration, and dosing, this live event will feature demonstration videos for various LAIA formulations to ensure safe and effective medication use.