- Miranda Teasdale
5 Things You Didn't Know Your Pharmacist Could Do!
Pharmacists in Nova Scotia have an expanded scope of practice and can provide an array of clinical services that you may not have heard about yet. This is exciting news – since pharmacists are often one of the most accessible healthcare providers. Below, are 5 examples of services they can provide.
1. Pharmacists in Nova Scotia can renew prescriptions.
Pharmacists are able to prescribe refills for prescription medications drugs for up to six months, when appropriate. Your pharmacist will determine if continuing the therapy is appropriate for you by conducting an assessment. The assessment will involve a discussion with you and, in some cases, conducting tests (such as taking your blood pressure). Your pharmacist may review any relevant lab test results to determine if therapy is still appropriate (PANS, 2020). Nova Scotia residents with a valid health card are eligible for 4 renewal assessments per year at no cost (NS Pharmacare, 2021).
2. Pharmacists in Nova Scotia can provide injections
Authorized pharmacists may administer many immunizations, including those for the prevention of seasonal influenza, Covid-19, hepatitis A and B, herpes zoster (“Shingles”), human papilloma virus (HPV), Depo-Provera (contraceptive), and some travel vaccinations (PANS, 2020). At this time, flu and covid shots are the only publicly funded vaccines administered in pharmacies. Other immunizations may be provided by your pharmacist and may be covered by your private drug plan, health spending account, or other medical benefits plan. For information on specific costs for immunization services please contact your pharmacy (PANS, 2020).
3. Pharmacists in Nova Scotia can prescribe for urinary tract infections
Urinary Tract Infections are among the top 5 reasons for emergency room visits across Canada (Smith, 2018). Pharmacists can assess and prescribe treatment for uncomplicated UTIs in women aged 16 or older. If there are other factors that are complicating your UTI discovered during the assessment, the pharmacist may tell you to see a doctor or nurse practitioner for assessment and treatment. Residents with a valid Nova Scotia Health care are eligible for 2 assessments a year at no cost (NS Department of Health and Wellness, 2021).
4. Pharmacists in Nova Scotia can prescribe contraception
Pharmacists can be the primary provider of contraception (the pill, patch, injection, etc.), including ongoing management of contraception for the purpose of birth control. This service is only for those seeking a method of birth control. Pharmacists cannot provide this service for other indications (such as managing menstrual cramps, acne, etc.). During the assessment process, they will work with you to determine the therapy that best meets your needs. You and your pharmacist will select the most appropriate method of birth control based on your medical history, medications, risk factors, guidelines and your preferences (PANS, 2021). Residents with a valid Nova Scotia health card are eligible for this service at no cost.
5. Pharmacists in Nova Scotia can prescribe for the treatment of shingles
About 130,000 Canadians are diagnosed with shingles each year, according to Immunize Canada, and the rate is slowly climbing (Immunize Canada, 2020). An early start of antiviral medications for patients with shingles (herpes zoster) is very important (PANS, 2021). Treatment must begin within 72 hours of symptom onset to work properly. Pharmacists can complete the assessment and if deemed appropriate, will provide patients with antiviral treatment (PANS, 2021). Residents with a valid Nova Scotia health card are eligible for 2 assessments per year at no cost (NS Department of Health and Wellness, 2021).
 Prescription Renewals: Assessing and Prescribing | Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. (n.d.). Pans.ns.ca. Retrieved October 15, 2022, from https://pans.ns.ca/prescription-renewals-assessing-prescribing
 Healthcare services available from pharmacists | novascotia.ca. (n.d.). Novascotia.ca. Retrieved October 15, 2022, from https://novascotia.ca/dhw/pharmacare/healthcare-services.asp
 Immunizing and Injecting | Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. (n.d.). Pans.ns.ca. https://pans.ns.ca/public/pharmacy-services/immunizing-injecting
 Beahm, N. P., Smyth, D. J., & Tsuyuki, R. T. (2018). Outcomes of Urinary Tract Infection Management by Pharmacists (RxOUTMAP): A study of pharmacist prescribing and care in patients with uncomplicated urinary tract infections in the community. Canadian Pharmacists Journal / Revue Des Pharmaciens Du Canada, 151(5), 305–314. https://doi.org/10.1177/1715163518781175
 Birth Control Management: Assessing and Prescribing | Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. (n.d.). Pans.ns.ca. Retrieved October 15, 2022, from https://pans.ns.ca/birth-control-management-assessing-prescribing
 Canada, P. H. A. of. (2007, July 18). Herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide. Aem. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/canadian-immunization-guide-part-4-active-vaccines/page-8-herpes-zoster-(shingles)-vaccine.html
 Herpes Zoster (Shingles): Assessing and Prescribing | Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. (n.d.). Pans.ns.ca. Retrieved October 15, 2022, from https://pans.ns.ca/herpes-zoster-shingles-assessing-prescribing