As experts in pharmacotherapy, primary care-based pharmacists, play a key role in detecting and resolving medication related issues, optimising the safe and efficacious use of medications, promoting medication adherence and providing comprehensive medication counselling. The fact community pharmacists are highly accessible and central to the community places them in a prime location to be greatly involved in the integrated care of patients, seeing them on a regular monthly basis. Research has demonstrated that psychotropic medication adherence is substantially lower than adherence to medication for physical disorders, highlighting there is a necessity for new and improved methods of monitoring and increasing psychotropic adherence (Cramer and Rosenheck,1998).
This study aims to explore the current role of primary care-based pharmacists in the care of patients facing mental health challenges, especially those facing medication non-adherence. Ultimately, the study intended to identify any gaps in the service pharmacists offer to mental health patients, in order to improve the integration of care and concordance with such patients.
To explore the current extent of primary care-based pharmacist’s involvement, an online questionnaire was developed which was distributed to primary care-based pharmacists in the UK. The analysis of quantitative and qualitative data collected from twenty-five responses determined that currently, no specific interventions are offered for psychiatric patients facing medication non-adherence. Following the decommission of Medicines Use Reviews in March 2021, the findings of this study highlight that there is a need for specific interventions pharmacists can offer mental health patients facing medication non-adherence. Subsequently, the finding that the majority of primary care-based pharmacists believe the addition of psychiatric conditions and related medications to the existing New Medicines Service would be effective in tackling psychiatric medication non-adherence is very promising. This warrants further investigation into how such roll out would occur, including what further support and training pharmacists require.
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