|Oct. 19, 2016
Nearly half of all Americans have taken at least one prescription medication and 20 percent have used three or more prescription drugs in the last month. But according to a National Council on Patient Information and Education survey, more than half report not taking their medications as prescribed, putting them at risk for serious health concerns.
“Your pharmacist is likely the most accessible health care provider you have,” said Lindsey Eitniear, clinical pharmacist. “Yet not enough people take the time to talk to their pharmacist about their health. That is truly unfortunate, because we can provide many services to help our patients understand and manage their medications better.”
More than 12,000 prescriptions are filled each month across UT’s three outpatient pharmacies and pharmacists work directly with patients who are recovering in the UT Medical Center or being treated in several of UT’s clinics.
“We educate patients about taking their medication properly, identifying potential side effects and managing chronic conditions,” Eitniear said. “We also work to resolve insurance concerns and explore options for reducing out-of-pocket expenses.”
New legislation also allows a physician to permit pharmacists to make adjustments to medication dosages including those for blood pressure and diabetes at the pharmacy.
“We work closely with physicians to suggest simplifying medications or to clarify what has been ordered,” Eitniear said. “This extra communication ensures patients know how to take their medications correctly and is an added safety for patients.”
Eitniear said it is safest when patients use the same pharmacy each time they need a prescription filled, particularly if the patient takes multiple drugs.
“We can track some controlled medicines and a few others are tracked through insurance companies, but there is no one database that holds all patient prescription information,” she said. “Even a seemingly simple antibiotic can cause severe interactions with some medications. Pharmacists can spot these potential hazards if prescriptions are filled in the same location.”
Consistent use of the same pharmacy also allows a relationship to form between patient and pharmacist.
Holly Smith, UTMC Outpatient Pharmacy manager said patients should talk about all medications they are taking at each doctor’s appointment. She said printouts of all prescribed medications can be requested from the pharmacy and shared with physicians and family members.
“I tell patients to carry the list in their purse or wallet so they always have it with them,” she said. “It’s also important that there is at least one designated family member who knows your health history and medications in case of emergency.”
This also is a good time to take inventory of any leftover or expired medications. Pharmacists can advise patients the proper methods for disposing of old prescription and over the counter medications.
“We accept unwanted medications in a drop box in the emergency department of UTMC,” Smith said. “Patients with injectable medications should follow the directions on their sharps container for proper disposal.”
Smith said unused medications also can be mixed with used kitty litter or coffee grounds and disposed of in the trash. Medicated patches should be folded over and stuck together before being thrown away.
“I would advise anyone getting a prescription filled to take a minute to ask a few questions about the medication you will be taking. You can even call your usual pharmacy to review medications and discuss any concerns,” Smith said. “It is our goal as pharmacists to do the best we can by our patients so they are able to care for themselves and stay well.”
Dr. Amit K. Tiwari, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, was invited to present at the First Annual Breast Cancer Summit at St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, Ohio. The purpose of the summit was to improve breast cancer outcomes through early detection, survivorship support and health promotion, and participants included breast cancer survivors, primary health care personnel like nurses, technicians, physicians and pharmacists, and students and community members.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which lacks three key cell surface receptors (ER,PR and HER2), is highly heterogeneous, aggressive, invasive, and metastatic. It recurs more frequently and offers a worse prognosis than other forms of breast cancer. TNBC also presents the highest health disparity, since it is three times more common among African-American women than among Caucasian women. Current chemotherapy, including targeted therapies, has limited value in the treatment of TNBC.
Dr. Tiwari discussed and provided information on current therapy options (taxanes, anthracyclines, PARP, platinums and other combinations) and future individualized therapy options for TNBC.
Angelique Nyinawabera, a graduate student in Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics who is mentored by Dr. Tiwari, also attended the conference. Angelique’s research efforts are dedicated towards bridging the health disparity gap experienced by African-American women. Her dissertation focuses on targeting highly dysregulated mitochondrial genes to develop novel TNBC therapeutics.
This summit, which was designated for a maximum of 2.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, was sponsored by St. Rita’s Center for Continuing Education, which is accredited by the Ohio State Medical Association to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Dr. Tiwari believes this summit, and other similar programs that promote collaboration and discussion among patients, researchers and health care professionals, can improve care and outcomes tremendously, leading us toward a cure.
The University of Toledo chapter of Student Society of Health-system Pharmacists achieved recognition from the American Society of Health-system Pharmacists (ASHP) for 2016-17 academic year. The honor includes a certificate of recognition, a complimentary ASHP publication, awards for the incoming and outgoing student officers, and a complimentary student registration to the 2016 Midyear Clinical Meeting and 2017 Summer Meetings.
Most students in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences know José Treviño for his role as Director of Transfer Services and Recruitment for the college’s Office of Student Affairs, but many don’t know how skillful he is with a chainsaw. About 15 years ago, he was inspired to create wood carvings by a friend who carved totem poles from large pieces of driftwood from Lake Erie. Wood carving is a way for José to connect with his Latino culture, and he often creates pieces symbolic of his heritage. Many of these adorn his home.
After carving his elaborate creations, José sands them down with a grinder and adds paint or stain, always careful that the beautiful grains in the wood are visible. For José , this pastime provides focus and a way to escape from the stresses of life.
“The tools I use drown out the sounds of what is going on all around me so I can focus on what I am doing. I also enjoy seeing these pieces begin to take shape,” José said.
While José generally creates these pieces for his family’s enjoyment, some have been seen in the corridors of the Frederic and Mary Wolfe Center and have been featured at art exhibits and even The Toledo art Museum of Art.
Mary F. Powers, BSPharm ’82, PhD ’96
Associate dean for Main Campus Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
In January 2015, Dean Early appointed Dr. Mary Powers as associate dean for Main Campus Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, with oversight of the college’s undergraduate recruitment into the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) programs as part of the duties of this post. Specifically, the Student Affairs team has been working on strategies to address consistent declines in enrollments across all of academic pharmacy that have occurred since 2009. The enrollment management team within the college has implemented numerous initiatives and enhancements to our recruitment efforts to increase the numbers of excellent students we attract.
In spring 2015, the college hired a new enrollment management specialist, Angela Lopez, who had experience in UT’s Office of Admissions. Daniel Fackelman, an alumnus of the BSPS program, was hired in fall 2015 to focus on recruitment for the BSPS majors. Together, Angela and Daniel travel throughout the region to share information about our programs, facilities and faculty. Our UT Experience Days, during which prospective students visit the campus and meet faculty and students, now include a faculty lecture series that allows students to learn about the research occurring in our college and the ways this research affects patient care and the pharmaceutical industry.
Pharmacy Camp continues to be a great avenue for introducing students to pharmacy and to our college. José Trevino, director of transfer services and recruitment, added to his duties the role of Pharmacy Camp director. In addition to the traditional Walgreen’s Pharmacy Pharmacy Practice Camp that focuses on pharmacy practice and the profession of pharmacy, the college has added a camp focused specifically on the pharmaceutical sciences. The Shimadzu Pharmaceutical Science Camp is supported by Amway.
Using web technology, we added Echo Targeting advertising as a way to recruit students into the PharmD program and into the cosmetic science and pre-med majors (medicinal chemistry and pharmacology) of the BSPS programs. By enhancing relationships with community colleges and continuing the fast track program for students in the Toledo Early College High School, we are maintaining a pipeline to the BSPS degree.
The college has multiple pathways to apply to the professional division for transfer students and applicants who have already earned a degree. Literature was developed to explain these pathways to our students and facilitate their successful application to the professional division.
The Pharmacy Ambassadors, a student organization closely tied to recruitment and the student experience, has been instrumental in providing campus tours during prospective student visits and hosting high school students who want to shadow, or immerse themselves in the pharmacy student experience for a defined period of time. The office developed a training manual for Pharmacy Ambassadors and showed appreciation for this enthusiastic group with letters of recognition from the associate dean and a cookout for the ambassadors. As an extension to the Pharmacy Ambassadors, we also formed Pharmacy Ambassadors Leadership Society (PALS), a volunteer network of recruitment ambassadors composed of faculty, staff, alumni, and parents of current students.
With a focus on the areas of the state that are most fruitful for recruitment to our college, the Office of Student Affairs developed purposeful recruitment strategies in northeast Ohio and developed recruitment literature focused on students in the greater Cleveland area. The college also established relationships with the Ohio HOSA Future Health Professional high school student organization. The college’s Office of Student Affairs also engaged UT’s recruiters from the Office of Admissions to highlight the recruitment needs of our academic programs.
The results of these efforts to enhance recruitment are anticipated to begin with modest enrollment increases, starting with the freshman class in fall 2017. Thereafter, benefits to our enrollments are anticipated to be seen annually.