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      New Roles for Pharmacists in Community Mental Health Care: A Narrative Review


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          Medicines are a major treatment modality for many mental illnesses, and with the growing burden of mental disorders worldwide pharmacists are ideally positioned to play a greater role in supporting people with a mental illness. This narrative review aims to describe the evidence for pharmacist-delivered services in mental health care and address the barriers and facilitators to increasing the uptake of pharmacist services as part of the broader mental health care team. This narrative review is divided into three main sections: (1) the role of the pharmacist in mental health care in multidisciplinary teams and in supporting early detection of mental illness; (2) the pharmacists’ role in supporting quality use of medicines in medication review, strategies to improve medication adherence and antipsychotic polypharmacy, and shared decision making; and (3) barriers and facilitators to the implementation of mental health pharmacy services with a focus on organizational culture and mental health stigma. In the first section, the review presents new roles for pharmacists within multidisciplinary teams, such as in case conferencing or collaborative drug therapy management; and new roles that would benefit from increased pharmacist involvement, such as the early detection of mental health conditions, development of care plans and follow up of people with mental health problems. The second section describes the impact of medication review services and other pharmacist-led interventions designed to reduce inappropriate use of psychotropic medicines and improve medication adherence. Other new potential roles discussed include the management of antipsychotic polypharmacy and involvement in patient-centered care. Finally, barriers related to pharmacists’ attitudes, stigma and skills in the care of patients with mental health problems and barriers affecting pharmacist-physician collaboration are described, along with strategies to reduce mental health stigma.

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          Older people carry a high burden of illness for which medications are indicated, along with increased risk of adverse drug reactions. We developed an index to determine drug burden based on pharmacologic principles. We evaluated the relationship of this index to physical and cognitive performance apart from disease indication. Data from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study on 3075 well-functioning community-dwelling persons aged 70 to 79 years were analyzed by multiple linear regression to assess the cross-sectional association of drug burden index with a validated composite continuous measure for physical function, and with the Digit Symbol Substitution Test for cognitive performance. Use of anticholinergic and sedative medications was associated with poorer physical performance score (anticholinergic exposure, 2.08 vs 2.21, P<.001; sedative exposure, 2.09 vs 2.19, P<.001) and cognitive performance on the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (anticholinergic exposure, 34.5 vs 35.5, P = .045; sedative exposure, 34.0 vs 35.5, P = .01). Associations were strengthened when exposure was calculated by principles of dose response. An increase of 1 U in drug burden index was associated with a deficit of 0.15 point (P<.001) on the physical function scale and 1.5 points (P = .01) on the Digit Symbol Substitution Test. These values were more than 3 times those associated with a single comorbid illness. The drug burden index demonstrates that anticholinergic and sedative drug exposure is associated with poorer function in community-dwelling older people. This pharmacologic approach provides a useful evidence-based tool for assessing the functional effect of exposure to medications in this population.
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              A 20-year mortality gap for men, and 15 years for women, is still experienced by people with mental illness in high-income countries. The combination of lifestyle risk factors, higher rates of unnatural deaths and poorer physical healthcare contribute to this scandal of premature mortality that contravenes international conventions for the 'right to health.'

                Author and article information

                Role: External Editor
                Role: External Editor
                Role: External Editor
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                21 October 2014
                October 2014
                : 11
                : 10
                : 10967-10990
                [1 ]Research and Development Unit, Fundació Sant Joan de Déu, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutic Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona 08830, Spain; E-Mail: mrubio@ 123456pssjd.org
                [2 ]Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, Australia; E-Mail: timothy.chen@ 123456sydney.edu.au
                Author notes
                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: claire.oreilly@ 123456sydney.edu.au ; Tel.: +61-2-9351-2729; Fax: +61-2-9351-4391.
                © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 16 July 2014
                : 30 September 2014
                : 07 October 2014

                Public health
                pharmacist,mental health care,quality use of medicines,community pharmacy,service implementation


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