Medication Therapy Management (MTM) is the tracking and monitoring of a patient’s prescription medications to reduce errors and costs. It involves an ongoing partnership between the patient and their pharmacist to optimize the patient’s medication regimen.
Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions will have to receive MTM services starting in 2020. This includes taking medications as directed, having lower out-of-pocket expenses, and experiencing fewer adverse drug reactions.
Patients will benefit from consistent communication about new prescriptions, follow-up appointments, and more thorough medication records. They can learn about a drug’s side effects and where to purchase it by reading its label.
How Medication Therapy Management Works
Nowadays we can use Medication Therapy Management (MTM ) software to ease work. MTM involves helping patients take their medications correctly. It involves tracking a patient’s medical and medication history.
Pharmacists review patient profiles to check for interactions with current medications. They also look for interactions between new medications and existing ones. MTMs monitor the side effects of medications, including those prescribed after hospital stays, surgical procedures, etc.
This way, the pharmacist can catch potential drug interactions that may increase the risk of adverse reactions. Healthcare practitioners can help patients understand the side effects of their medications and find alternative solutions.
Tracking Medications and Side Effects
In order to effectively track a patient’s medication intake, pharmacists must know what drugs the patient is taking, and the dosage of each drug.
They must also know any potential side effects of each drug, so they can be on the lookout for any signs these side effects are occurring in the patient. With today’s computing technology, pharmacists can easily track and monitor which medications a patient is taking.
Once the pharmacist has the necessary information, they can monitor a patient’s progress and adjust doses as necessary. They can also track a patient’s symptoms, dietary intake, other health conditions, and any other information that may be relevant to their health and the effectiveness of their medications.
Managing Adverse Drug Reactions
An adverse drug reaction occurs when a patient’s response to a medication is worse than expected. It can take many forms, including allergic reactions, over- or under-dosing, and a host of other issues. Every year, 10-16% of hospitalized patients experience a serious ADR.
In order to effectively manage ADRs, pharmacists must know which drugs a patient is taking and the dosage of each drug. They must also keep a close watch on any symptoms a patient might exhibit that could be a sign of an ADR.
Some of the most common signs of an ADR include:
- Abnormal skin sensations like burning, itching, redness, swelling, or tingling
- Abnormal sensations in the mouth such as burning, numbness, or tingling
- Abnormal sensations in the eyes such as burning, itching, redness, swelling, or blurred vision
- Abnormal sensations in the ears such as itching, pain, or a ringing sound
- Abnormal sensations in the throat such as itching, burning, a lump in the throat, trouble swallowing, or hoarseness
- Abnormal sensations in the lungs such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or a phlegmy feeling
- Abnormal sensations in the stomach such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, or a sensation of indigestion
- Abnormal sensations in the kidneys such as pain, burning, or frequent urination
- Abnormal sensations in the bladder such as pain, a frequent urge to urinate, or blood in the urine – Abnormal sensations in the joints/muscles such as pain, swelling, or weakness
- Abnormal sensations in the skin such as itching, redness, rash, or hives
- Abnormal sensations in the liver such as an abnormal liver function test, abdominal pain, nausea, or jaundice
Managing Chronic Conditions
A pharmacist may recommend a patient with a chronic condition receive MTM if they are taking multiple medications. Patients with chronic conditions often take multiple medications because they have to.
This is because the chronic condition will often require a combination of medications to control symptoms and reduce the chance of re-occurrence. Many chronic conditions can be managed with just one medication, but for many patients, one medication may not be enough.
This is especially true for people who have long-term conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, epilepsy, and asthma. MTM can help patients with chronic conditions track and manage their medications.
This can help reduce the risk of adverse drug reactions and improve the quality of life for patients.
Finding The Right Medication
A patient’s prescription drug regimen may change several times over the course of their treatment. Sometimes, the change is the result of an improvement in the patient’s overall health.
In other cases, the drug may simply stop working effectively, or there may be unwanted side effects. For example, a patient may be prescribed a drug that lowers cholesterol and works well at first.
After a few months, the patient’s cholesterol levels drop to an acceptable level, and the patient’s doctor may decide to stop the medication.
However, the patient’s cholesterol levels begin rising again. In this case, the patient’s doctor may decide to prescribe a different drug to treat their cholesterol.
This process is known as medication substitution and is often recommended in cases where a patient’s current medication is no longer effective.
Medication therapy management is an important part of any chronic condition or long-term treatment plan. It can also be beneficial for patients taking a single prescription drug for an acute condition.
For optimal health, patients need to take their medications as directed and report any issues with their treatment plan. This is where MTM can be incredibly helpful.
When patients receive MTM, they and their pharmacists are better equipped to recognize when a drug may be causing an issue, or when a dose needs to be adjusted. This can help patients live better lives and reduce the risk of serious medical complications.