When patients visit their pharmacy, many of them heavily depend on the guidance of the pharmacist to correctly take their medications. However, even if patients properly adhere to their meds, they may start to experience vitamin deficiencies that leave them feeling fatigued or irritable.
Joe Williams, owner and pharmacist of Brisson Drugs, immediately recognized this as a problem. “We first started really seeing that there was a need for the discussion with the supplements because [we] would go into a home and a patient might be on four to five meds, but they would have three, four, five, six different supplements spread out across the kitchen table,” says Williams.
Many patients attempt to insert vitamins into their daily routine, yet unfamiliarity about how and when to take supplements -- coupled with a lack of knowledge about which ones to take -- greatly hinders patients’ ability to correctly use vitamins to improve their health. “It really opened our eyes to the fact that we know about the prescription meds that [patients] are taking, but we really need to find out more about these supplements,” says Williams.
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Are Your Vitamins Compatible with Your Meds?
There are thousands of vitamins on the market, each claiming to offer a variety of health benefits. Vitamins can be found at grocery stores, pharmacies, and specialty retailers, making them easily accessible for patients. With such a wide range of choices, patients often make dangerou mistakes when combining OTC meds and vitamins with their medications.
“We need to make sure that if they are on a supplement, number one: is there going to be a drug interaction with the meds they're taking? And number two: are they taking the right supplements that makes sense for them?” says Williams.
Additionally, pharmacists have a deeper understanding about the common medications that create vitamin deficiencies. “We know that a lot of the medications that we are dispensing in the pharmacy can actually result in a deficiency of natural vitamins within the body,” says Williams. Understanding the impact of certain medications on a patient’s nutritional levels, can help the pharmacist make recommendations for the most suitable vitamins to their patients. The pharmacy can then provide a comprehensive health plan for the patient, overall improving the way the patient feels.
Vitamins + Adherence Packaging
Just as with medication compliance, patients struggle to adhere properly to their vitamins, which limits the health benefits they can receive. “You would be shocked at the number of times that the patient presents us with a supplement that they're taking that is this 500 or 2000 count bottle, that expired three years ago,” says Williams.
With vitamins often being wasted or misused due to low compliance, patients at Brisson Drugs are offered a better solution. “Instead of being burdened with the cost of purchasing these massive bottles, we allow them to spread out those cost over time,” says Williams. “So now they only pay for a month at a time and it's included in their compliance packaging.”
“In the case of most of our compliance packaging patients, when we would start them, they haven't been adherent so they don't know how the meds are making them feel,” explains Williams. After complying to their medication regimen correctly for a month, many patients start to experience the side effects of some of their meds. That’s when staff at Brisson Drugs steps in to help. “When you come to them with that recommendation and with that data, they're ready to listen. [Patients] want to do it because they've already seen how you've helped them with the compliance packaging,” says Williams.
Adherence Packaging = Better Health
“[Patients] need somebody who is involved in their care. They realize that you want to treat all of them, that you want to look after them, and it just creates a tighter bond between the pharmacist and the patient,” says Williams.
At Brisson Drugs, the RapidPakRx is helping pharmacy staff put more patients on compliance packaging. With the RapidPakRx, pharmacies are able to complete packaging for up to 50 patients per day, using one technician in an 8-hour shift. The adherence strip packager leverages patented universal cartridges to allow for the dispensing of a variety of oral solid medications, supplements, OTC items and vitamins.
Interested in learning more about how Brisson Drugs has implemented vitamins into its compliance packaging? Click here to listen to the full podcast. Want to learn more about the RapidPakRx? Visit our product page, or speak with an adherence expert at (877) 959-9815.