Taking the time to check (and double-check) every single prescription

Registered pharmacist David James in an Express Scripts® Pharmacy lab coat.

What could have been a quick prescription check led to a potentially life-saving call with the patient.

Reviewing prescriptions for potential safety issues or allergies is a regular part of the job for David James. Like all of our specially trained pharmacists, he checks to ensure safety and accuracy before filling any prescription. But this time was different.

A patient had been receiving meloxicam, a medication typically prescribed for pain and inflammation, for at least two years from Express Scripts® Pharmacy. However, when James checked her medical record, he saw a new allergy listed — one that can cause issues with meloxicam.

A quick conversation changed everything

James was concerned and decided to call the patient to confirm the allergy and see if she was still taking her medication. The patient was surprised to hear from James, saying she was not aware of any allergy to her medication and she had been taking it as prescribed.

That could have been the extent of their talk. But James continued the conversation and asked the patient about her overall health.

That’s when she mentioned she recently had been diagnosed with kidney damage. The call quickly changed course.

“Any time we see a medication such as this one being used in patients with kidney or heart problems, it’s definitely a red flag,” said James, who has worked at Express Scripts® Pharmacy since 2003.

He let the patient know that meloxicam and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause kidney damage and recommended that she check in with her doctor.

“That call saved me.”

Five months later, the patient called back to thank James, saying, “That call saved me.”

She had been on meloxicam for 4 years and her kidney function was deteriorating to the point of almost needing dialysis. Her conversation with James spurred her to do more research and see her doctor again.

With the guidance of her doctor, she stopped the meloxicam and her kidney function returned to normal.

James was glad to hear the patient followed through with his advice and that it led to such a positive outcome.

“It’s very gratifying to realize that the time you take and what you say is not being taken for granted or being ignored,” said James. “I’m really able to make a difference.”

Posted date: December 13, 2022

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