In Depth Perspectives: Bias in Patient Care, LGBTQ Pain Management, and More


Check out these top featured stories from Drug Topics in June 2024.

Overcoming Bias: How Cultural Competence Improves Patient Care

In Depth Perspectives: Bias in Patient Care, LGBTQ Pain Management, and More / Paleta Images -

In Depth Perspectives: Bias in Patient Care, LGBTQ Pain Management, and More / Paleta Images -

The most recent US Census, conducted in 2020, delivered some interesting data: Since 2010, the overall US population has become more racially and ethnically diverse than it was just 10 years prior. For pharmacists, this means that the patient in front of them now is more likely to be of a different race, ethnicity, or religion or have a different sexual identity than previously. How can pharmacists begin bettering their skills in cultural competency?

Redefining Pharmacy Education for LGBTQ Pain Management

Pain management is a cornerstone of pharmacy school curriculum. Through coursework, students gain valuable knowledge in pain mechanisms, pain assessment, and types of pain. Their training equips them with the skills to become pain medication experts, guiding patients on proper dosages, adverse effects, and interactions of drugs. But what happens when the unique pain considerations of entire communities are left out of this teaching? Alongside an increasing number of gender-affirming procedures, knowledge among health care providers did not—and has not—kept pace. This trend represents an overarching theme in health care regarding knowledge about pain management among LGBTQ individuals.

Stopping the Syndemic: Pharmacy at the Intersection of HIV and Injection Drug Use

It was announced in a news release: On February 25, 2015, the Indiana Department of Health acknowledged a “quickly spreading” outbreak of HIV in the southeastern part of the state. Since mid-December 2014, 26 new cases of HIV had been confirmed. Of those cases, only a handful were associated with sexual transmission. The rest were associated with injection drug use—specifically, intravenous injection of oxymorphone hydrochloride (Opana ER), a powerful opioid painkiller. Back in 2015 in Scott County, Indiana, rates of HIV diagnoses among individuals who injected drugs continued to rise. Ultimately, a total of 215 HIV infections were recorded, 167 of whom were coinfected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) either before or during the outbreak.12-14 And although this particular outbreak is behind us, the co-occurrence of HIV infections, HCV infections, and injection drug use persists.

Pharmacy in the Digital Age

Of all the things Peter A. Kreckel, RPh, writes about with regard to the changes of the profession in the past 45 years, one of the benefits he has seen is the wealth of information now at pharmacists’ fingertips. But pharmacists should never forget that it takes 4 years of intense study to know what to ask, how to interpret the data, and, most of all, whether those data come from a reliable source. With plenty of information easily available, seasoned pharmacists use the internet as a tool to supplement and extend their knowledge. But this wealth of information still requires a working knowledge of pharmacology to know what to ask.

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