By Paaven Patel, Operations and Quality Assurance Pharmacist at Specialist Pharmacy
Personalised medicine is the future of healthcare. It considers an individual’s genetic profile, environment, and their lifestyle to tailor their medical treatment to specific needs. Personalisation is growing rapidly worldwide and is the exact opposite of the one-size-fits- all approach. This approach has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by improving treatment outcomes and minimizing adverse effects. By analysing a person’s DNA, healthcare professionals are able to identify specific genetic variations that may affect drug metabolism or disease risk, enabling them to prescribe targeted therapies. With advancements in genomics and technology, it is becoming increasingly possible to tailor medical treatments to an individual’s unique genetic and physiological makeup.
Pharmacists play a crucial role in the personalising process. They have expertise in drug interactions, dosing, and individual patient factors that can impact treatment outcomes. Pharmacists can collaborate with other healthcare professionals also, such as doctors and nurses, to develop treatment plans and provide medication counselling whilst also utilising technologies and resources.
The very nature of personalised medicine means that compounded medication is often required as part of the treatment plan. Pharmacists have the expertise to formulate a compound with suitable active ingredients, adjust dosages, and select appropriate dosage forms based on a patient’s specific needs. They also play a vital role in quality assurance, ensuring that compounding practices adhere to standards and regulatory guidelines. This ensures the compounded medications are safe, effective, and of high quality. Overall, pharmacists’ skills and knowledge in formulating and compounding can help optimise patient therapy and improve overall health outcomes.
Pharmacists have advanced their role through genetic testing, by providing guidance on appropriate testing options, interpreting test results, and counselling patients on the potential implications of genetic information. The future of personalised medicine centres heavily on genetic testing. Remaining at the cutting edge of medical advancements is key in this rapidly evolving field, and pharmacists are able to stay updated on the latest research technologies and guidelines.
A pharmacist can educate patients about the medication they have been prescribed, helping them to understand why they’ve been prescribed what they have and directions for use or the importance of compliance. This helps the patient feel empowered by actively participating in their treatment, making an informed decision about their health which aligns with their preferences and values.
Pharmacists are medication experts and therefore are an excellent resource for prescribing professionals, helping ensure that treatment plans align with the overall healthcare needs of the patient. They offer continual support in the treatment journey. Treatment regimens can become complex and the potential for drug and genome interactions exists, so a pharmacist’s knowledge is vital during the process, in order to prevent adverse reactions and to ensure the medication is suitable for the patient.
The future of personalised medicine holds great promise and pharmacists play an instrumental role, from guiding treatment decisions based on genetic information to formulating compounded medications, ensuring their safety and efficacy. Their expertise in pharmacology, drug interactions and prescriber/ patient education, uniquely positions them to collaborate with other healthcare professionals in their personalised treatment plans. Healthcare professionals will likely lean more heavily than ever on pharmacists for their invaluable expertise and collaborative care, making them essential members of the healthcare teams.