As a healthcare professional, one of my roles is ensuring that my patient’s understand what medications they are taking, what conditions they are for, how to take or use them appropriately, and making sure they are getting the most benefit from them. Being proactive in your health is very important to ensure you are on the correct medications for the appropriate condition or illness. It is also crucial that you reflect on your lifestyle and how that can impact your health, whether that be positively or negatively.
In late 2003, the United States Government enacted the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act.1 It was not until January of 2006 that the prescription drug benefit called Medicare Part D became effective. Medicare Part D was the introduction of prescription drug coverage and one requirement of prescription drug plans was to have in place a cost-effective drug utilization management program and a medication therapy management (MTM) program.2
So what is MTM? Medication Therapy Management encompasses a variety of services designed to maximize medication effectiveness and safety. They may be provided to patients with specific chronic conditions or patients with multiple chronic conditions.2 As a pharmacist, one way that I provide MTM services to my patients is to thoroughly discuss all medications that a patient is taking, including prescription drugs, OTC medicines, and herbal products and supplements. Upon analyzing all the medicines a patient is taking, I ensure that all the medicines are appropriate. I check for drug-drug interactions, drug-disease interactions, drug-food interactions, side-effects, and make sure my patients are on the right drugs for the right conditions. Another component to effective MTM is be conscientious of the cost of medicines and how that can effect/affect the utilization of medications (ScriptSave® WellRx is a great companion to help with the cost of prescription medicines). I use the most up-to-date medical literature (which changes frequently) to make recommendations. My goal is to foster communication between a patient and his/her doctor as well as be proactive in his/her health.
It is important as a patient to question things you may not know or understand about your medicines and respective conditions. Pharmacists like talking to patients and we want to get to know the patients we serve. Remember that at the end of the day, we have your health in our best interest and would be more than happy to answer questions or concerns you may have.