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The national rollout to community pharmacy of HIV medication dispensing is now 18 months old, and a well-placed pioneer in the new professional service shares his insights.
Many pharmacists would have experienced the rewarding feeling from participating in the Know Your Numbers program, where we took patients’ blood pressure and provided free diabetes risk-assessment tests. Supporting our patients’ healthcare through the provision
of extra health services strengthens our relationship with the patient and allows us to perform a more complete professional role.
My pharmacy has been involved in the dispensing of anti-retroviral medications (ARVs) to HIV patients since national approval on 1 July 2015. I had previous experience in a pilot study to dispense ARVs some years ago, and participated in recent working parties in Canberra to prepare for their supply through community pharmacy.
Specialised education and training
Being a new class of dispensed medications, pharmacists involved are required to be
fully educated on ARV treatment regimens, potential drug and complementary medicine interactions, and long-term side effects,
such as renal implications and loss of bone mineral density. My pharmacists therefore all completed an HIV treatment training course.
There are multiple sources of information and education available to pharmacies engaging in new health services. A good relationship with the representatives from pharmaceutical companies is valuable to keep up-to-date with new developments and to benefit from their long-term experience in this area.
Attending information sessions at the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and relevant health organisations, such as Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), also helps achieve a greater insight and understanding of the HIV infection and its treatment. The APF 23 has a section on HIV/AIDS, which reviews the disease state and therapeutics of ARVs. Another valuable resource about medication interactions can be found on the Liverpool Drug Interaction Website: www.hiv-druginteractions.org.
Dispensing ARV medications allows pharmacists to have a more complete medical pro le and medication history of our patients, provide a more complete professional service and become more involved in the care of our patients. By engaging in this health service, and understanding newer-generation treatment combinations that have recently come to market, we can contribute to the patients’ education about newer treatment options that help with managing longer-term risk factors, such as renal complications, dyslipidaemia and lower bone mineral density.
A good relationship with the representatives from pharmaceutical companies is valuable to keep up-to-date with new developments and to benefit from their long-term experience in this area.
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- Your Local Community Healthcare Needs
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- The Need To Change