Copeman Healthcare is pleased to announce that Ying Wang, a compounding pharmacist with Pure Integrative Pharmacy, will now be available to Copeman clients one day a week at the downtown Vancouver location (808 Nelson St). In these one-on-one consultations that are being offered at no extra charge, Ying will address issues regarding prescription and over-the-counter medications, supplements, nutraceuticals, and diet and lifestyle choices. She will discuss strategies to minimize the risk of drug interactions, side effects, drug induced nutrient depletion, as well as optimizing the use of supplements and lifestyle to achieve your wellness goals. To help you understand how you can get the most out of Ying’s expertise, we sat down with her to understand the unique perspective offered by a compounding pharmacist. The following is a transcript of our conversation:
Q: Are all pharmacies and all pharmacists the same or do some focus on particular areas?
A: No; the types of pharmacies and pharmacists in the community are quite diverse. Some pharmacies focus primarily on dispensing medications. Others may focus on a particular specialty. In all cases, pharmacists have the training to be drug experts, well-equipped to identify and resolve drug therapy problems which may include drug interactions, allergies, and more.
Q: You mentioned that some pharmacies focus primarily on dispensing prescriptions while others offer a range of products and services, can you give me some examples of these specialized products and services?
A: One example of a specialized service would be compounding, wherein the pharmacist undergoes extra training in the science of making customized medications that are specifically tailored to the patient’s needs. Other pharmacists may specialize in particular fields such as natural health, travel medicine, medical supplies, mental health and addiction, pain, sexual health, and chronic disease education. In addition, many community pharmacies offer services such as vaccine administration, point-of-care testing, and medication review services.
Q: From the way you answered that last question it sounds like some products are more preventative in nature, while others seem to be more like treatments, can you help us understand how someone can use your services to better understand what they might need?
A: The goal of medicine is to achieve wellness, and that can either mean treating an active disease, or preventing a future one. Oftentimes, medications play a big role in that. It’s my job as a pharmacist to ensure the use of these medications is appropriate and safe in such a pursuit.
Q: Would it be safe to say that some pharmacists offer more of a consultative role that adds value to clients, if so, do you have any tips for how clients can get the most out of an appointment with a pharmacist
A: Yes; pharmacists, and pharmacy practise in general, are shifting toward a more patient-focused approach. This means that many are offering more consultative services to assess for drug related issues and offer patient education. To get the most out of your consultation with a pharmacist, it is important give the pharmacist a detailed list of your current medications, which includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and supplements. It would also be helpful to have a record of recent medical documents such as lab work, which are oftentimes important in tracking the safety and effectiveness of your medications.
Q: What hours and days will you be in the Copeman clinic and how do clients book time with you?
A: I will be available Mondays 9AM to 1PM and clients can book their appointments with their client care coordinator.
Q: Are there any restrictions on who can see you, such as the number of medications currently being taken? Are there particular health issues or conditions that can greatly benefit from a consultation with a pharmacists?
A: There a no restrictions; anyone who’s interested can book a pharmacist consultation. However, clients taking several medications (ie.≥5) may benefit more from the consultation. Studies show the more medications a person takes concomitantly, the higher the risk of drug-drug interactions. At 5 to 9 medications, this risk is 50%. It jumps to 81% with 10 to 14 medications, and 92% with 15 to 19 medications*. Clients that take a higher number of medications, or those managing chronic or complex conditions, would certainly benefit greatly from an in-depth review of their medications. Since my practise focuses on integrative medicine, anyone with an interest in natural health products, orthomolecular medicine, and supplements may also find a consultation with me to be useful. In general, a consultation with a pharmacist is all about providing health education. Understanding your own drugs is a step closer to understanding your own health, and that’s a form of self-empowerment when it comes to wellness.
Q: Did you have any further suggestions for clients considering a consultation with a pharmacist?
A: Pharmacists are one of the most readily accessible members of your healthcare team. They have the educational background to answer so many medication- and health-related questions, and they are more than happy to consult with clients one-on-one.