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The Voice of the Black Community


Pay attention to medication regimen
For optimal results, stick to prescription
Published Monday, June 16, 2014 6:34 am
by Tremain Cooper, Pharm.D.

Prescription drugs are and will always be the best supportive healthcare tool that will ever exist. As the saying applies, “it’s better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.” Think about this, “Is it possible for us to manage the symptoms of disease with prescription drugs?” The answer is absolutely; in its most simplistic description, disease is only the result of the body’s suspended ability to regulate itself. Now, think about this, is it possible for prescription drugs to cause dangerous side effects? Of course; it’s possible.  

Today, unlike any other time in American history, the need for medication use strategies is paramount. Practical and evidence-based strategies that improve medication effectiveness and adherence are a primary focus in today’s healthcare landscape.

In my years of practice I’ve had patients and the public communicate directly to me their frustrations about prescription drugs. The top five frustrations I’ve been able to record are:

• Doctors want patients to stay sick.
• Doctors use the patient’s diseases to make millions of dollars.
• Doctors try to scare patients into taking drugs.”
• Patients feel they are guinea pigs.
• Patients feel doctors are hiding something by prescribing drugs.

If belief precedes action, it’s of little wonder to me how medication adherence rates are low and medication potential is rarely realized. These strategies attack the negative stigma attached to the drugs of my industry and shift the paradigm into its most positive light and away from that which is rooted in fear. Three ways to do this is with a foundation in the following areas:

1. Nonpharmacotherapy
Nonpharmacotherapy is the non-drug methods for fighting disease, staying healthy, and preventing disease.  Examples of nonpharmacotherapy include, smoking cessation programs, weight management programs, stress management programs, physical fitness, nutrition, heart disease prevention, healthy lifestyle support, diabetes prevention, natural supplements, personal development, etc. Non-pharmacotherapy strategies tap into the body’s natural regulatory processes which fights disease down at the cellular level. The body has built within its own drugstore. And we can control disease consistent with the level of effort we put into fortifying the body.  

2. Pharmacotherapy
Pharmacotherapy is the use of prescription drugs to treat and manage disease. There are thousands of drugs and combinations of drugs on the market. There multiple dosage forms and potencies of drugs. There are both approved and unapproved/off-label uses for drugs. One drug can be used to treat and manage different conditions. It’s astounding and fascinating. Drugs attempt to regulate the imbalance in our natural bodily processes. Drugs can do some amazing things for patients. Drugs can extend life but more importantly drugs can improve the quality of patients’ lives.  

3. Medication therapy management
Medication therapy management is the opportunity to customize a patient’s drug regimen. No longer accepted are the days of prescribing multiple drugs until we find one that works for the patient. It’s a customized drug regimen that purges a patient’s medication profile. It’s a purged medication profile that reduces a patient’s pill burden. Drugs are amazing, but by the same token drug interactions can have devastating outcomes. Medication management is the new era of medication usage and will have profound results.  

As we couple the foundation with the 11 recommendations for taking drugs, we position patients on the safest journey toward positive outcomes and optimal health.  These 11 recommendations for taking drugs are as follows:

1. Pray
Prayer is how we communicate with our higher power. Having a spiritual connect to a higher power has been proving to have healing power.  

2. Meditate
Meditation is how we get still. Getting still is how we listen to our higher power. The journey to optimal health begins and continues from a spirit of stillness. One of my heroes Russell Simmons calls stillness, “the state of needing nothing.”

3. Eat healthier
We do not need to overhaul our diets, but we must adopt healthier habits to prevent a deficiency of nutrients. The nutrients nourish the cells that produce our natural regulatory substances. Those regulatory substances maintain homeostasis/balance. Healthy cells correct themselves before disease begin to manifest throughout the body.

4. Increase physical activity

Physical activity is the only activity in which all parts of the body are in sync with one another. Physical activity improves blood flow. When blood is flowing correctly and all parts of the body are in sync.  The natural substances produced in our cells have no problems doing what they need to do. More important, drugs are properly absorbed in the body, distributed throughout the body, metabolized, and excreted from the body assuring a favorable response.

5. Manage response to stress
The body responds the same way to a stressful event whether it’s real or a replayed event. The body recognizes stress as a state of emergency. It’s the state of emergency particularly from replayed events that begins a chain of events.

6. Get a pharmacist
After a diagnosis, a pharmacist can provide advanced prescription drug monitoring/management including the selection, initiation, and change of therapy. Advanced management, between physician visits, is critical. Avoidable drug related problems occur between physician visits. However, selection of a personal pharmacist is critical. Your pharmacist must be credentialed and able to demonstrate a high level of clinical competence above and beyond the traditional pharmacist.

7. Find the best drugs
The best drugs are those that will continue to produce the most consistent results. Consistency from the beginning will best complement your treatment goals. The goal is to restore health with the right drug as the support.

8. Take the drugs
After your foundation has been laid, it’s imperative to take the drugs. Drugs do for the body what it’s struggling to do for itself. If the body can’t do for itself then our quality of life suffers. Quality of life enables us to maintain a degree of productivity.

9. Review medication
Review your medications to identify problems. This is the opportunity to develop a prioritized list of medication related problems. With this list, we start checking problems off the list. A lot of times, many other factors contribute to a failed outcome beyond the drug.

10. Develop action plan
The action plan lays out the processes and procedures for accomplishing treatment goals. The processes and procedures should be realistic and practical. Anybody can accomplish anything when the goals are achievable.

11. Discontinue therapy
We should always discontinue unnecessary drug therapy. We can reach a point when the drugs will begin to do more harm than good. You will reach a point when the drugs are no longer treating the disease. We then get trapped in this cycle of using drugs to correct the problems caused by drugs.

Tremain Cooper of Charlotte is owner of Dr. Tremain Copper LLC, a venture devoted to bridging the gap between community integrity and medication management. Visit his website www.drcooperthepharmacist.com.


This article was very informative Dr. COOPER
Posted on June 17, 2014

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