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Ben Laliberte
Are You Experiencing Side Effects from Your Medicine? Here's What You Should Know

By Kristin Howard, Pharm.D., PGY2 Critical Care Pharmacy Resident, Department of Pharmaceutical Services, University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas

Have you ever experienced a reaction from your medicine that was unexpected? That is commonly known as a side effect...More

Have High Blood Pressure or Heart Disease? Be Careful with These Medications

By Ben Laliberte, Pharm.D., BCPS, PGY2 Cardiology Pharmacy Resident, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

Nonprescription, or over-the-counter (OTC), medicines are often a convenient, affordable way to treat common medical conditions such as colds, cough, diarrhea, mild pain, or upset stomach. People also often seek nonprescription remedies in the form of vitamins, herbs, or dietary supplements...More

New ‘Biosimilars’ May Help Reduce Medication Costs

By Laurie J. Rollins, Pharm.D. candidate, University of Georgia College of Pharmacy Class of 2016; and Anita Nayar Gallay, Pharm.D., Pediatric Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Georgia Regents Medical Center/Children’s Hospital of Georgia

You may have heard about a new kind of medicine on the market that may help reduce costs for patients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first “biosimilar” medicine called Zarxio. Similar to the existing brand-name medication Neupogen, Zarxio boosts white blood cell counts in people who have cancer...More

Does Your Child Refuse to Take Medicine? Some Helpful Tips

By Laurie J. Rollins, Pharm.D. candidate, University of Georgia College of Pharmacy Class of 2016; and Anita Nayar Gallay, Pharm.D., Pediatric Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Georgia Regents Medical Center/Children’s Hospital of Georgia

Getting your child to take medicine when he or she is sick is no easy task. And trying to reverse a bad experience is even more difficult. Whether your child needs to take a short-term antibiotic for a bacterial infection or a drug therapy for something more serious over a longer period of time, it's important that the experience be a positive one. More

New FDA Rules Will Help Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Understand Their Medication Options

By Ben Andrick, Pharm.D., PGY1 Pharmacy Resident, Georgia Regents Health System; and Samm Anderegg, Pharm.D., M.S., BCPS, Pharmacy Manager, Ambulatory Care & Oncology, Georgia Regents Health System

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may wonder which prescription medicines are safe to take. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created new rules for drug manufacturers...More

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Ben Laliberte
Pharmacists Are a Great Resource If You Have a Loved One in Hospice Care

As the U.S. population ages, many families and caregivers are becoming familiar with the benefits and unique aspects of hospice care. In 2014, for example, an estimated 1.7 million patients received services from hospice care providers. 1

Hospice care provides medical, psychological, and spiritual support to patients and their families who are facing a life-limiting illness or injury. Hospice care, which is most often provided in the home, is not meant to cure a disease. Rather, it is designed to ensure that the patient is as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

Hospice care is quite different from what happens in a doctor's office or in a hospital. When a patient enters hospice care, a team of professionals provides the patient with comfort care and helps the patient and family members through the transition (vs. focusing on curing a disease).  This team includes doctors, nurses, home health aides, social workers, clergy, volunteers, and pharmacists.    

Pharmacists who provide hospice care help doctors manage a patient's pain and other symptoms while ensuring that the patient remains as alert as possible. To achieve that goal, pharmacists work with the patient, family members, and other members of the hospice team to create a medication plan that is designed for the patient's specific needs.

As medication experts, pharmacists understand each medication and the correct doses to use to achieve the intended result. Pharmacists know the side effects that may occur and understand how certain drugs may interact with each other. We also provide support for patients and families to understand and use their medications appropriately.

To help patients become comfortable, pharmacists ask many questions about their medical histories and symptoms. If a certain medication is no longer useful or helpful to a patient, the pharmacist may suggest that the patient stop taking that medication.

If you have a loved one who is receiving hospice care and have questions about his or her medications, remember to ask to speak with the pharmacist. Pharmacists are a valuable resource to help keep your family member comfortable during this difficult time.

By Alyssa Cosnek, Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2016, University of Iowa College of Pharmacy