As a pharmacist, we are often stopped by friends and family seeking advice regarding medication. Last week, a fellow choir member asked my opinion on cholesterol medication. It seems the pastor's wife stopped her prescription medication and has had good results with an over the counter (OTC) supplement. I offered the following as a basis for a standard response to such questions.

If you are concerned about your medication program, speak to your physician. Treatment programs should be a result of the patient/physician relationship. Your physician knows your past medical history, your family history, the indication for the med, length of therapy, and dosage. When the physician is not included, future dosages may be adjusted based on the prescribed dose rather than the actual dose taken. In the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine article, “Patient-centered Cystic Fibrosis Services,” by John A Dodge, the history of patient centered care was eloquently detailed. Patient centered care is often equated with nurses who are patient centered advocates. Too often the physician is too quickly dismissed. The doctor–patient relationship requires constant two-way communication and agreement about treatment. Those with chronic illnesses may find comfort in the familiar, known staff. Ideally, care would be patient centered rather than resource driven. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists must see things from both the patient’s point of view and their own. There may be surprising differences. medication program

We must provide continuity of care and remember, talk to, listen to and relate to the patients. Evidence based practice (EBP) may reveal inadequacies in traditional assumptions and provide a consensus of content. Patient-centered care individualizes the process. As the patient learns from others, considers alternative models and experiments, we should always remember personal testimonies are anecdotal, at best, not evidence based. Cholesterol control may be greatly affected by many factors such as the patient being male versus an estrogen producing female.

Dodge concludes, “…it is our privilege to serve patients, if only on the principle of doing to others as we would have them do to us, because: ‘the patient is neither a disease to be discussed, nor a showcase of pathological interest, nor a dispassionate bystander. He is a sick person in the alien environment of the hospital, disturbed by his illness and involved in it at least as much as the doctors. He is anxious to know what is happening, entitled to find out, and generally able to make helpful contributions to all aspects of his clinical management.”

Source: Dodge, J. (2005). Patient-centered cystic fibrosis services. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Retrieved from ,