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    New services offered by Quebec pharmacists

    Is your resolution for 2017 to quit smoking?

    Did you know that your pharmacist can prescribe different treatments to help you quit smoking? **

    He may also:

    • Extend your expired prescriptions **
    • Adjust your orders according to your requirement **
    • And much more! 

    As of June 20, Quebec pharmacists now have an expanded scope of practice in order to serve you better. 

    The following is a short summary of these new activities. For more information, we invite you to speak to your pharmacist or refer to the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec website (in french only). Please note that these activities do not apply to the New Brunswick pharmacies.

    Extending a physician’s prescription

    In order to avoid interrupting your treatment, pharmacists will now have the power to extend a physician’s prescription in cases where you are unable to see your doctor before your original prescription expires.

    The length of the extension will depend on the duration of the original prescription and the pharmacist’s judgment. For example, your pharmacist may extend your prescription for a short amount of time if he or she feels that you need a medical follow-up in the near future, or extend it for several months if your condition has been stable for a long time. Regardless of the situation, the extension cannot exceed the duration of the original prescription, or a maximum of 12 months.

    Prescribing medication when no medical diagnosis is required

    The Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec (in french only) and the Collège des médecins have identified 11 situations where pharmacists can prescribe medication for conditions that do not require a physician’s diagnosis.

    The 11 situations are as follows:

    • Emergency oral contraception
    • Hormonal contraception following a consultation for emergency oral contraception
    • Vitamin or folic acid supplements for women who are pregnant or wish to become pregnant
    • Medication for pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting
    • Treatment against lice
    • Preventive treatment against malaria
    • Preventive treatment against acute mountain sickness
    • Treatment for traveller’s diarrhea
    • Smoking cessation products for persons who wish to quit smoking
    • Preventive antibiotic treatment for cardiac valve carriers, prior to a medical procedure
    • Protective treatment for patients taking an anti-inflammatory medication and who are at risk for gastrointestinal complications (e.g. ulcers)

    Prescribing and interpreting laboratory tests

    Certain laboratory tests (e.g. blood or urine analyses) may be necessary in order to ensure proper monitoring of certain drug therapies. When appropriate, your pharmacist will now be able to prescribe this type of test in order to better detect possible adverse effects associated with your medication, monitor interactions between two drugs, or monitor treatment efficacy.

    Prescribing medication for a minor health condition with an established diagnosis and treatment

    The Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec and the Collège des médecins have identified 12 minor health problems for which pharmacists will be able to prescribe medication. In order for your pharmacist to be able to do so, you will need to have seen your doctor for this problem in the past, and have been prescribed a treatment at the time. If the problem develops again later, your pharmacist will be able to prescribe medication if your symptoms clearly show that it is the same problem, as long as it is within the allowable time frame (1 to 4 years, depending on the condition), and you have no warning sign or symptom requiring that you promptly see a physician.

    The 12 minor conditions are as follows:

    • Minor acne (without nodules or pustules)
    • Mouth ulcers
    • Allergic conjunctivitis
    • Menstrual pain
    • Mild or moderate eczema
    • Diaper rash
    • Hemorrhoids
    • Herpes labialis (cold sores)
    • Urinary infections in women
    • Oral thrush following the use of a corticosteroid inhaler (e.g. for asthma)
    • Allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies)
    • Vaginal yeast infections

    Adjusting a physician’s prescription

    Pharmacists can now make certain adjustments to a prescription in order to avoid or reduce the adverse effects associated with a medication, manage an interaction between two medications, prevent complications, take the patient’s weight into consideration (e.g. in the case of a child), or ensure that treatment goals are reached.

    The pharmacist must note any such adjustment in the patient file, along with the clinical justification for it, and must inform both the patient and the physician.

    Substituting an out-of-stock medication

    There is a risk that a patient’s treatment will be interrupted if a medication is out of stock, especially when only one manufacturer makes that product. In order to avoid such an interruption, pharmacists can now substitute the missing product for another product from the same therapeutic subclass.

    Before going forward with a substitution, pharmacists must make sure that the product is completely out-of-stock, in other words that it cannot be obtained from their distributors or from colleagues at other pharmacies.

    Administering medication in order to demonstrate its proper use

    This activity is optional and only specially trained pharmacists will be able to perform it.

    These specially trained pharmacists will be able to administer certain types of medication to patients in order to demonstrate proper use. This could apply to medication administered through intramuscular, intradermal or subcutaneous injection (e.g. insulin) or through inhalation (e.g. the “pumps” used in the treatment of asthma).

    In conclusion

    Pharmacists are knowledgeable and accessible professionals. In a context where we do not always have easy access to healthcare services, these new activities will provide pharmacists with additional tools to better meet their patients’ needs.

    **Some conditions may apply. These activities depend on the present law and regulations. Pharmacists are solely responsible for the professional activities performed as part of the practice of their pharmacy. See your pharmacist for details.


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    Quitting smoking

    If you smoke, quitting is the biggest step you can take to improve your health and wellbeing. You’ll feel a host of immediate and long-term benefits.

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