Pharmacists are experts in medicines and their use. They also offer health advice to patients on issues such as sexual health and giving up smoking.
Medicines are the most common treatments offered to NHS patients. A pharmacist is an expert in medicines and their use. Their knowledge of medicines and the effect they have on the human body is critical for the successful management of every type of medical condition.
- advise other healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, on how to choose medicines and use them correctly
- ensure that new medicines are safe to use with other medication
- advise on dosage and suggest the most appropriate form of medication such as tablet, injection, ointment or inhaler
- make sure that patients use their medicines safely
- provide information to patients on how get the maximum benefit from the medicines they are prescribed
- advise on the most effective treatments for a particular condition including those for sale without prescription
- help patients manage long term conditions
- recommend changes to prescriptions and give advice on prescribing
- provide information about potential side effects
- monitor the effects of treatment to ensure that it is safe and effective
Pharmacists are also involved in manufacturing medicines when ready-made preparations are not available. For example, certain cancer treatments and intravenous feeding solutions need to be tailor made under sterile conditions for individual patients.
Pharmacists may also supervise pharmacy technician and pharmacy assistants in purchasing, quality testing or dispensing medicines.
Page last updated: September 2020
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