Some pharmacists begin serving nutritional counseling

March 13, 2012

Pharmacists are already getting more heavily involved in medication therapy management and counseling services. Now, a company is also urging them to offer patients nutritional guidance as well.

Pharmacists are already getting more heavily involved in medication therapy management and counseling services. Now, a company is also urging them to offer patients nutritional guidance as well.

Around 400 U.S. pharmacies are utilizing Cleveland, Tenn.-based Take Charge Nutrition’s Take Charge Lifestyle Modification System for Pharmacists. The program provides pharmacists with educational tools, meal replacements, and other items to share with patients combating obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health issues.

“We can’t fill prescriptions for a living anymore. We have got to be able to use our minds to contribute to the healthcare system in order to survive,” said Terry Forshee, DPh, PD, president and CEO of Take Charge Nutrition, and an independent pharmacy owner.

Pharmacists get referrals from physicians, then meet with patients in the program. The patients maintain weekly food diaries. Each week, the patient receives an information booklet on a variety of nutritional topics, such as portion control. Patients pick 1 thing from each lesson that they believe will work for them, to implement in their lives.

“We don’t tell them that they ‘can’t do this’ or they ‘have to do that.’ We try to get them to focus away from weight loss and focus on getting healthy, which results in weight loss,” Forshee said.

Pharmacists also monitor the patients’ insulin levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol at least 3 times during the 90-day program. To that end, pharmacists purchase the program for around $2,000, which includes body fat testing equipment, educational materials, meal replacements, and marketing materials. They then market the program to patients for $195 each.

More information is available on Take Charge’s website.