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Medication Therapy Management
Column #461, 7/1/10
by Jake Mossman, Owner of Taos Pharmacy

Medication therapy management (MTM) focuses on identifying, preventing, and solving drug-related problems. The goal is to optimize medication therapy. MTM services are different from the usual counseling that occurs when you receive a prescription. MTM begins with a medication therapy review. During this review the pharmacist will review and assess all current medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), herbal products, and supplements taken by the patient. The pharmacist will attempt to identify any potential medication-related problems and work with the patient and prescriber to resolve these problems. The patient will receive a personal medication record which is a comprehensive list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications, herbals, and supplements. This record will be updated with each review. This record should be shared with all of the patient's physicians to promote continuity of care. Patients will also receive a medication action plan which acts as a simple guide for patients to keep track of their medications and their treatment goals. These processes may result in consultations and interventions with the patient's health care providers aimed at maximizing the benefit of medication therapy. All services provided are documented and follow-up visits are scheduled as necessary.

Certain disease states such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and asthma may require complicated medication therapy involving up to 8 or more medications. Complicated medication therapy increases the risk for adverse events. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies reported in 2006 that medication errors harm at least 1.5 million Americans every year resulting in more than $3.5 billion a year in hospital costs. This does not include the costs of lost wages or other medical costs outside of the hospital. The components of MTM are cited in the report as means to improve patient-provider relationships and communication to reduce medication errors.

Medicare Part D plans are required to offer MTM services to select, qualified patients; however these select patients may represent only a small portion of people who could benefit from MTM services. Pharmacists may charge patients directly for these services if they do not qualify for MTM through their Medicare Part D plan.

The Total Health and Wellness Center of Taos is committed to improving patient medication safety. Charles Vandiver, registered pharmacist and licensed pharmacist clinician, is available to provide medication therapy management services at the wellness center. Call (575) 737-5810 to schedule your medication therapy review with Charlie and reduce your risk of medication-related problems.

References: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=11623, "Creating a Patient Care Process, Medication Therapy Management Services," American Pharmacists Association, 2007.

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