Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by norafena, Jul 9, 2008.

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  1. norafena

    norafena 2+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Is there a way to combine pharmacy and psychology? I love psychology and was always interested on studying the effect of psychotropic drugs on people, when it is effective, overused, abused etc.
    Can pharmacists work with psychologists or psychiatrists in such manner, or participate in research related to this?
    Thank you in advance for your feedback.
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  3. Aznfarmerboi

    Aznfarmerboi Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 18, 2005
    Google up Pfizerpharmacyguide, chapter 25.

    chapter twenty-five
    psychiatric pharmacist

    Each year, 23 percent of adult Americans suffer from diagnosable mental
    disorders, of which anxiety disorders are the most common. Four of the ten
    leading causes of disability in the United States are mental disorders and
    approximately a fourth of total hospital admissions in the U.S. are psychiatric
    As startling as these statistics may seem, the bright side is that ongoing
    research in this area has led to increasingly successful treatment for a growing
    number of affected people. Most people with
    mental illness recover well with appropriate
    ongoing treatment and support. On the team
    for treating these types of conditions are
    psychiatric pharmacists like Sara Grimsley
    Augustin, PharmD, BCPP.
    No one in Sara Grimsley Augustin's family
    ever had any connection to pharmacy. Her
    mom is a teacher and her dad is a game
    warden. Her stepfather is an accountant and
    her stepmother is a banker. But the 36-yearold,
    eldest of three girls and native of the
    small town of Waverly, Tennessee was always
    interested in science. She chose pharmacy, among the various healthcare related
    professions she was considering, during her first year of undergraduate studies
    at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Although that choice was made
    rather quickly, as she was feeling pressure to declare a major, she's never
    been sorry. "Pharmacy turned out to be the perfect career choice for me."
    Dr. Augustin enrolled in Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy in
    Atlanta in 1985. In 1989, she received her doctorate degree in pharmacy
    (while working for three years part-time at Boyles Drug Company in Atlanta)
    and in the next year completed a post-doctoral residency in psychiatric
    pharmacy there. Since then she has been on the faculty. She became a board
    certified psychiatric pharmacist (BCPP) in February 1997.
    Profiling the job
    It wasn't until her last year of pharmacy school, during her clinical psychiatry
    clerkship, that Dr. Augustin found her true niche in pharmacy: dealing with
    the pharmaceutical care needs of mentally ill patients. Although she had

    always been fascinated by psychology and psychiatry, she wasn't previously
    aware of this area of specialization in pharmacy. She quickly learned about
    the many activities psychiatric pharmacists can be involved in and realized
    this was the specialty for her. "Psychiatric pharmacists can have a real
    impact on patients, providing education about medications, monitoring for
    side effects of medications, and making recommendations to improve the
    outcomes of drug therapy," she says. A big problem in the area of psychiatry
    is that mentally ill individuals often stop taking the medications, which are
    necessary for the control of chronic illnesses, such as schizophrenia and
    bipolar disorder. Whether because of
    adverse effects, poor understanding
    of a medication's potential benefits,
    or poor recognition of their illness,
    non-compliance signals a gap in
    treatment. Pharmacists can play
    a vital role in filling this gap by
    identifying and addressing reasons
    for the discontinuation of pharmacotherapy,
    leading cause of relapse
    of mental illness and hospitalization.
    A day in the life
    Dr. Augustin's area of practice in psychiatric pharmacy involves a lot of
    teaching. In fact, much of her week is devoted to teaching fourth-year
    pharmacy students in the clinical psychiatry clerkship program at the
    Georgia Regional Hospital of Atlanta, a 250-bed state psychiatric facility.
    This is an elective advanced practice experience, and four to six students
    usually sign up for the clerkship she precepts each five-week session. While
    Dr. Augustin works for the pharmacy school, she uses the hospital, which
    is 20 minutes away, as a training site. Her students go there every day;
    Dr. Augustin meets them there several days a week. Under her direction,
    students become experienced at interacting with and providing medication
    counseling to the psychiatric patients there. They also learn to work with
    members of the treatment team (comprising psychiatrists, psychologists,
    nurses, social workers, activity therapists, and other staff) to develop and
    carry out the individualized treatment plan for each patient. Various units
    throughout the hospital are designated for treating specialized psychiatric
    populations, such as children, adolescents, developmentally disabled clients,
    the elderly, and those with substance abuse problems. Currently, the adult
    forensic psychiatry units are frequently utilized for student clerkship training.
    These units are devoted to treating patients with legal issues, such as those
    found not guilty of a crime for reasons of insanity or those deemed incompetent
    to stand trial because of their mental illness. "One of the most important
    things students learn on this rotation is to give up the stereotypic fears about
    people who are mentally ill. They
    quickly realize that even psychotic
    criminals are human beings with
    medically treatable conditions and
    deserve to be dealt with honestly,
    respectfully and compassionately."
    Other activities of the clerkship
    include conducting patient medication
    education groups and attending
    group meetings on specific topics,
    such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, schizophrenia,
    and epilepsy, during which students present patient cases for discussion.
    These meetings are held two to three times weekly with Dr. Augustin or
    her colleague.
    Dr. Augustin also teaches a number of psychiatry and neurology-related
    courses to second and third-year students. Her lecture topics include obsessivecompulsive
    disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social
    anxiety disorder, postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder,
    insomnia, narcolepsy, anorexia and bulimia nervosa, obesity, weight loss
    and seizure disorders. She is faculty coordinator for the required clinical
    pharmacokinetics course and teaches the pharmacokinetics of antidepressants,
    lithium, and anticonvulsants in that course. Dr. Augustin also teaches an
    elective substance abuse course, in which she lectures on alcoholism, drug
    testing, and abuse of substances such as cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy,
    heroin, inhalants, anabolic steroids, and prescription medications.
    Because she teaches different courses, Dr. Augustin's classroom teaching
    load is much heavier at certain times of the year. Sometimes she teaches four
    hours a day four days a week, sometimes she doesn't teach for weeks. "I'm
    on whenever my topic comes up," she says. There are about 520 pharmacy
    students in the pharmacy program. Dr. Augustin will ultimately teach every
    one of them.

    With such a focus on teaching psychiatric pharmacy, Dr. Augustin's work
    largely reflects that of an academic. She also conducts research, writes papers
    for publication in professional pharmacy journals and textbooks, and serves
    on various committees of the pharmacy school, such as the Curriculum
    Committee, the Admissions Interview Committee, and the Honors Awards
    and Scholarships Committee. But the part she likes best is teaching psychiatric
    issues, particularly helping students gain a better understanding of various
    mental illnesses and their treatments. Dr. Augustin has enormous freedom,
    doesn't overwork ("I probably average 45 hours a week," she says), has
    excellent benefits and vacation (22 days a year), and is constantly stimulated.
    "My job allows me to continue learning. I must keep up with what is current."
    Dr. Augustin is a member of several professional pharmacy organizations,
    using her expertise in psychiatry to serve as a reviewer for manuscripts submitted
    for publication in a variety of pharmacy journals. She is a member
    of the national Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties Council on Psychiatric
    Pharmacy, which is responsible for developing and administering standards
    for board certification in psychiatric pharmacy. There are currently 352
    board certified psychiatric pharmacists (BCPP)
    around the world; she
    predicts this number will grow as
    more people realize the value of this
    level of specialty practice.
    Dr. Augustin, recently married to a
    research scientist with a pharmaceutical
    company, also spends one
    morning a week as a clinical
    pharmacy consultant to the
    neurobehavioral unit — a private
    brain injury rehabilitation program.
    The patients in this program have
    severe psychiatric and behavioral
    problems, secondary to traumatic brain injuries most commonly due to
    car accidents, falls, or assaults. "We use a combination of medications and
    behavioral therapies to control their psychiatric symptoms so they can
    continue with other aspects of their rehabilitation. The effects of psychiatric
    medications in patients with brain injuries are often very different from
    what we see in people without such injuries, so this can be a very challenging
    population to treat." The 10 to 15 patients in this small program may remain
    several months to several year

    The 20-year-old schizophrenic male had been hearing voices telling him to
    kill family members and harm himself. He thought the television and radio
    personalities were talking to and about him and he had become paranoid
    about everyone. He'd been on the acute psychiatric unit for several weeks
    and had initially resisted taking medication because he thought the care
    providers were trying to poison him. When finally convinced to try an
    antipsychotic medication, he suffered distressing side effects (acute muscle
    spasms and hand tremors). Interpreting this experience as proof the medication
    was poison, the young man refused to take any more. Dr. Augustin
    worked with the patient, finally convincing him to try another antipsychotic
    medication, and within a short time his psychosis resolved. Shortly thereafter,
    he was discharged from the hospital and was able to get his first real job.
    He and his family were educated about schizophrenia and the importance of
    medications in its treatment. Dr. Augustin cites this as an instance in which
    a psychiatric pharmacist can really make a difference in a patient's life.

    >>>What do you need?
    • Ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team
    • A broad knowledge of psychiatric disorders and treatments
    • A interest in interacting with psychiatric patients
    What's it take?
    • A current, active license to practice pharmacy
    • Bachelor of Science (BS) or Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree*
    • One-year residency in psychiatric pharmacy is preferred
    • Certification as a Board Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist (BCPP) is preferred
    Where will you practice?
    • Psychiatric hospitals
    • Hospitals
    • Universities
    • Home health care
    • Nursing home care
    • Acute care facilities
    • Ambulatory care facilities
  4. norafena

    norafena 2+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Great info... Thanks.
    I am very intereted in that aspect of pharmcy not only for the sake of treating mentally ill patients but also preventing the adverse reaction of non-psychotropic drugs on the patienst mental health.
    I could never forget this line from our abonrmal psych professor when he told us...when you have a person who is taking more than 6 different drugs at a time there HAS to be a adverse effect on their mental state.
    It was shocking to me ...b/c I do see many people taking a lot of drugs, our society is becoming more and more unhappy...and trying to fix this with a pill too.. I don't really so much research on how drugs in general are affecting people's mental health.
    Anyways, from the literature that I appreciated, was "Artificial Happiness" by Ronald Dworkin (psychiatrist).
    Thanks again for link
  5. RxWildcat

    RxWildcat Julius Randle BEASTMODE! Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    I wouldn't agree with that statement
  6. 187502


    Feb 5, 2008
    BF-MW, USA
    I've always hear it as "A patient taking more than 6 medication is strongly statistically likely to have at least one major negative interaction between them".

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