Pharmacists' Patient Counseling Role


Kristen Peterson, PharmD, BCOP, explores how pharmacists deliver comprehensive education, empower patients, manage adverse effects, and prioritize outcomes for multiple myeloma care, ensuring quality treatment understanding and adherence.

This is a video synopsis/summary of an Insights episode involving Kristen Peterson, PharmD, BCOP.

A pharmacist’s extensive medical and communication training uniquely positions them to provide comprehensive patient and caregiver education and counseling. They can discuss chemotherapy regimens broadly, explaining treatment cycles, induction/consolidation/maintenance phases, differences from transplant, as well as providing granular details on each medication’s usage, associated adverse reactions, expected time frame/severity of adverse events, and OTC mitigation strategies to facilitate self-management vs urgent care needs. Few things bring a pharmacist more satisfaction than seeing patient/family understanding and treatment fears alleviated after counseling.

When evaluating new myeloma therapies, pharmacists and providers weigh multiple factors beyond progression-free survival benefits vs available alternatives. Quality of life considerations are key. Will added time allow patients to pursue activities they enjoy? Will adverse effects such as nausea, vision changes, or taste alterations occur and be manageable? Pharmacists consider data and guidance available to prevent/reduce adverse effects. Scheduling feasibility and retention of quality of life also factor into decision-making. Even a rigorously evidence-based treatment is unusable if patients cannot afford the regimen itself. Thus, availability of financial assistance programs enabling access is impactful.

With protected patient education time built into schedules, clinic pharmacists can serve as touchpoints for patients who, due to barriers such as transportation challenges or physical limitations, cannot frequently come on site. Frequent virtual check-ins assessing oral chemotherapy adherence, adverse event management, and ability to stay on treatment are feasible thanks to video calls, patient portals, and telephonic outreach. These 1-on-1 private settings may elicit questions and concerns that allow updates on patient progress. Some patients are reluctant to voice their worries in group appointments. Pharmacists can then relay issues to the care team to close communication loops.

Video synopsis is AI-generated and reviewed by Pharmacy Times® editorial staff.

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