In my career in healthcare, I have seen far too many patients who have been prescribed medication and continue to take that medication faithfully; Yet after a time, they are not really sure why they are taking that specific medication or if it is even helping with the diagnosed issue.
What is missing for these patients? Medication management.
Medication management is the process of following up with the healthcare provider on a regular basis to assess the effectiveness of the prescribed medication therapy, discuss any side effects that may go along with the medication, and make adjustments in order to achieve proper dosing. In some cases, the follow-up may be to change the prescribed medication therapy, if it is not providing the desired outcomes. Medication management should be an ongoing process. It should include open dialogue between the patient and provider about the effects of the medication combined with any other therapies or treatments that may be in place. This is to ensure useful data is being collected, so decisions can be made based on the whole picture; not just the medication piece.
When it comes to psychiatric and mental health services, the importance of quality medication management cannot be overemphasized. Not all people who seek psychiatric help will require medication. In some cases, amino acid therapy may be appropriate or continued therapy and counseling with regular psychiatric follow-up is warranted. If medication is prescribed, the patient should plan to see the psychiatric provider within 2 weeks (in most cases) for the first medication management visit. Continued follow-up visits should be scheduled monthly, or as needed depending on the individual case.
During these visits, the patient should plan on communicating openly with the psychiatric provider about their use of the medication, any side effects that they may be noticing, and any changes they are feeling in relation to their mental health diagnosis. At times, genetic testing can be used to pinpoint what medications are more likely to work for each individual patient. This testing can be used not only for patients who are just beginning psychiatric treatment, but also for patients who have been prescribed medication therapies that aren’t working. The patient should also plan to consult with the psychiatric provider before taking any other medications. They should inform the provider of other mental health therapies being used or medical complications that may arise during treatment. The patient should expect the provider to ask questions that will direct and lead the conversation, so time is well spent and modifications can be made with confidence.
Ultimately, the key to effective psychiatric medication management is open and continual communication between the patient and provider. At the Center for Couples and Families, our psychiatric providers strive to provide thorough psychiatric assessment, follow-up, and medication management.
Alberto has worked in healthcare for over 10 years. He began as a CNA and then worked as a registered nurse until completing his Master’s Degree in Nursing. Alberto has been working as a Nurse Practitioner since April of 2013. In addition to his work as a Nurse Practitioner, he also teaches online classes for the Dixie State University Nursing Program. His genuine love for people and desire to continue to learn and improve has allowed him to experience a great deal of success as a provider, to establish a good rapport with patients and to develop lasting relationships with medical professionals in the Southern Utah area. Alberto is also fluent in 3 languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish) which allows him to better serve a more diverse population. He is currently pursuing further certification in Psychiatry and Mental Health in order to provide his patient’s with the most up-to-date services and treatments in the field. Originally from Sao Paulo Brazil, Alberto Souza moved to the U.S. as a teenager where he has had the opportunity to pursue his American Dream. Alberto lives in Southern Utah with his wife and 4 children and is a devoted family man. In his free time, Alberto enjoys time with his family, traveling, biking, swimming and is an avid soccer fan. Alberto shares his love for soccer through coaching local youth teams.