Pharmacists Play Crucial Role in Helping Patients Navigate Complexities of MS Treatment

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In addition to medication management, pharmacists are educating patients and helping them navigate the complex medical system.

In an interview with Pharmacy Times, Jenelle Montgomery, CPP, PharmD, a clinical pharmacist practitioner at Duke Health, said pharmacists’ role in multiple sclerosis (MS) goes far beyond dispensing and managing medications. In addition to that crucial role, Montgomery said pharmacists are educating patients and helping them navigate the complex medical system.

Q: How are pharmacists well-positioned to help patients navigate the complexities of MS management?

Jenelle Montgomery, CPP, PharmD: Yeah, coming to conferences like this is really helpful, so you learn about different resources. And then we're also embedded in clinics, so we work closely with the providers [and] with the staff. So, when questions come up for patients, we're kind of easily able to answer those and help them navigate the different challenges they have. I think being in close contact with the patients in clinic has been a very helpful avenue for pharmacists to join in and help patients, and also, we're well trained to do this. So, between pharmacy school—and typically pharmacists who are in these clinics do residency—so having this training and knowing how to discuss these challenges with patients is really helpful to provide the resources for them.

Q: What role do pharmacists play in educating and supporting patients with MS?

Jenelle Montgomery, CPP, PharmD: Yeah, so we are seeing more and more pharmacists, which I'm really excited about, coming to not only these conferences, but also being embedded in clinics. So, we provide education, and we help with the process of shared decision making with patients. So, [we’re] helping them pick their medication, helping talk about side effects and any kind of warnings associated with medications. Because we're kind of right there with the patient, it's a really huge help to the team—not only the providers, again, but the staff. So, we're seeing more and more pharmacists join in on neurology clinics to help with the MS patient population.

Q: If you can give 1 key takeaway for pharmacists from the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers 2024 Annual Meeting, what would it be?

Jenelle Montgomery, CPP, PharmD: So, I would definitely say to make sure we're still continuing to advocate for our role in clinics and with MS patients. I think we serve as a really good resource for providers and patients, and there's been different studies that show that we help with provider burden, we help with staff burden. Providers have done surveys that show there's increased satisfaction with having pharmacists in clinic, so I think kind of walking away, if pharmacists continue to continue to show their value added to the clinics and the MS population, I think that would be a great thing to take away.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Jenelle Montgomery, CPP, PharmD: I would just say that, related to pharmacists and patients, just to continue to encourage patients to be an advocate for themselves. So, when they come to clinic, make sure they have questions available and ready to ask the neurologist. I think as they continue to be a self-advocate, we can continue to provide great care so they can have questions for us, for the provider, and we can kind of provide whatever they need for them in clinic.

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