Medication mismanagement and other prescription-related issues can cause serious health complications for seniors. The American Pharmacists Association estimates that approximately “1.5 million preventable adverse events occur each year that result in $177 billion in injury and death.”
What Is Medication Therapy Management?
Medication therapy management programs are designed to ensure that the medications you are prescribed are actually working to make you healthier, and that they address any health conditions you may have. In most cases, these programs, provided by pharmacists, take the form of an annual overview of all medications you’re taking. This annual meeting may be covered by Medicare.
What Happens During a Medication Therapy Management Appointment?
At your meeting, the pharmacist will explain each medication prescribed to you, its purpose, and how it should be taken. You will also be discussing possible interactions with other drugs, so you’ll need to take along a list of all of your over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements.
This review will be comprehensive, so you’ll likely want to take notes. In addition, you should receive a packet of information that summarizes the discussion, alongside an action plan that outlines the best way to manage your health as related to your prescriptions.
In addition to the annual review, some pharmacists may offer a range of other services to help you manage your medication. These may be recommended by your doctor or pharmacist if you’re using a number of powerful medications, if you’re being treated for multiple health conditions, or if you’re prescribed meds that need to be monitored closely.
How Do I Schedule an Appointment?
Medication therapy management can be covered under Medicare Part D, so your Part D provider should be able to schedule an appointment for you or put you in contact with a local pharmacist who offers the service. Your doctor or pharmacist may also be able to schedule these appointments for you.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommend scheduling your meeting just before your annual wellness visit with your doctor. This will ensure that you walk into your doctor’s office armed with information about your prescriptions and that you can share your pharmacist’s action plan with your other healthcare providers.
Medication mismanagement can cause adverse reactions and, in rare cases, may even lead to death. Medication therapy management provides seniors with a way to ensure they’re prescribed the medications they need and that they’re taking them in a way that supports their long-term health and well-being. By reviewing all of your medications annually with your pharmacist, you can help greatly reduce your chances of being over-prescribed powerful drugs that may do more harm than good.