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The Role of Neuropsychiatric Pharmacists

Lawrence J. Cohen, PharmD, BCPP, FASHP, FCCP

Published: August 1, 1999

Article Abstract

A modern pharmaceutical care model widens the traditional pharmacy role of medication dispenser to educator and information manager. The broad goals of a modern pharmacy service are to improve the efficiency and safety of drug therapy, to improve patient satisfaction and quality of life, to ensure medication compliance, to save time for physicians and other members of the health care team, and to save money. In this new model, drug acquisition costs are considered as a part of a total health care budget rather than as a single segment to be controlled irrespective of impact on other parts of the budget. More than 80% of patients with schizophrenia who are treated with conventional neuroleptics are rehospitalized within 2 years, and controlled studies have shown that inpatient costs are lower when atypical antipsychotics are used instead of typical antipsychotics. In the future, pharmacy departments with narrow responsibilities are likely to give way to a pharmaceutical care service in which the pharmacist is a vital member of the health care team.

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