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Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association
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CPhA releases list of treatments pharmacists and patients should question as part of Choosing Wisely Canada campaign

Association aims to encourage clinician and patient conversations by identifying six treatments to question to improve patient safety and health outcomes

November 21, 2017 (Ottawa): The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) today released a list of specific treatments, practices, or therapies that are commonly initiated but not always necessary as part of the Choosing Wisely Canada campaign. The list, Six Things Pharmacists and Patients Should Question, identifies targeted, evidence-based recommendations that can support conversations between patients and clinicians about what care is really needed.

The CPhA pharmacist recommendations highlight and question practices and therapies that may not be necessary and could be potentially harmful to patients:

  1. Don’t use a medication to treat the side effects of another medication unless absolutely necessary.
  2. Don’t recommend the use of over-the-counter medications containing codeine for the management of acute or chronic pain.Counsel patients against their use and recommend safe alternatives.
  3. Don’t start or renew drug therapy unless there is an appropriate indication and reasonable expectation of benefit in the individual patient.
  4. Don’t renew long-term proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy for gastrointestinal symptoms without an attempt to stop or reduce (taper) therapy at least once per year for most patients.
  5. Question the use of antipsychotics as a first line intervention to treat primary insomnia in any age group.
  6. Don’t prescribe or dispense benzodiazepines without building a discontinuation strategy into the patient’s treatment plan (except for patients who have a valid indication for long-term use).

“Choosing Wisely Canada is a natural partnership for CPhA. One of the fundamental ethical principles of the pharmacy profession is that pharmacists will only provide services or products that benefit their patients,” says Phil Emberley, Director, Practice Advancement and Research, CPhA.  “Our involvement sends a strong signal to Canadian pharmacists about their essential role in providing the best possible patient care, while serving as stewards for a sustainable health care system.”

CPhA’s Choosing Wisely Canada list was developed after months of careful consideration and review, using the most current evidence about management and treatment options.

In preparing the list of recommendations, CPhA sought to engage the broader pharmacy community by initiating a call for recommendations in late 2016.  The intent was to let all pharmacists in Canada contribute to the process by identifying unnecessary tests or treatments that they felt were important.  The second stage in the process was to develop an expert committee to review the submitted recommendations with the aim of identifying the final list of evidence-supported recommendations.

“Choosing Wisely Canada is proud to partner with CPhA and the pharmacy profession. Pharmacists are a vital partner in reducing unnecessary medication use,” says Dr. Wendy Levinson, Chair of Choosing Wisely Canada.  “Pharmacists are well positioned to engage in conversations with patients about medications they need, and what they don’t. We are delighted to see this list released and know that it will advance our collective efforts to reduce the harm associated with unnecessary medical tests and treatments.”

With the release of its recommendations, CPhA joins more than 60 Canadian medical professional societies who have now published more than 280 recommendations or “lists” of unnecessary tests and treatments that patients and clinicians should discuss.

To learn more about Choosing Wisely Canada and to view the complete lists and additional details about the recommendations and evidence supporting them, visit www.ChoosingWiselyCanada.org

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About the Canadian Pharmacists Association

The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians. More information is available at www.pharmacists.ca.

About Choosing Wisely Canada

In partnership with the Canadian Medical Association, Choosing Wisely Canada is a national health care campaign to help clinicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary tests and treatments and make smart and effective choices to ensure high-quality care.