The Pharmacist

Pharmacists can be found working across many different sectors from the high street to the hospital, teaching at university, researching new medicines and making sure new medicines coming onto the market are safe before they can be manufactured and sold to the public.  In all, pharmacists play a vital role in our health.

As we all know sometimes it’s really difficult to swallow tablets and it can be particularly difficult trying to get your child to swallow an ENORMOUS tablet.  How often do we wish it could be in liquid form?  This is where the paediatric pharmacist specialising in paediatric rheumatology can help.  Part of their job is to look for small tablet sizes or find suitable liquids for medicines.

The pharmacist can liaise with GP practices and community pharmacies to ensure you can get your child’s medicines locally. This can be more of an issue when prescribing in children because, your GP may not be as familiar with the dosing or use of the medicines for JIA and would prefer hospital consultants to prescribe and supply them.  Therefore, the pharmacist may be involved in writing shared care guidelines and liaising with all the parties involved and, depending on what contract your hospital has, will also work with Homecare companies to get these medicines delivered directly to you at home so you don’t have to keep making trips to the hospital to get the prescription filled, which maybe isn’t always close by.

The specialist paediatric pharmacist may also be a non-medical prescriber which means they may regularly review:

  •       your child’s medicines
  •       repeat prescriptions from the hospital
  •       blood and clinic results

and prescribe accordingly, making sure these prescriptions are forwarded to your pharmacy or Homecare company.

The pharmacist also works with doctors and nurses on the day care ward and can organise your child’s regular infusions of infliximab and tocilizumab for example.  They will also ask the hospital’s aseptic unit [i] to make up these infusions.

Giving medications correctly is essential so the pharmacist will regularly review the instructions for nurses and health care professionals on giving medicines safely.  They will also review and write patient information leaflets on all the different medicines your child may take and any side-effects they may experience. 

[i] The aseptic unit is responsible for making up your child’s infusion under sterile conditions to ensure your child’s safety.

By Mrs Sian Shenton (Pharmacist)
Original article: 27/12/2014
Reviewed: N/A
Next review due: 27/12/2017