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PrEPare yourselves to help patients in need
Kate Setzler 539

PrEPare yourselves to help patients in need

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Today's Perspective

Kristin Wiisanen, PharmD, FAPhA, FCCP

Kristin Wiisanen, PharmD, FAPhA, FCCP

Pharmacists are increasingly instrumental in providing PrEP to patients to prevent HIV transmission.What exactly is PrEP? There are currently two pills approved, which both contain emtricitabine combined with a form of tenofovir. An injectable form, capotegravir, is also available. Although indicated in different populations, both pills are taken once daily, with the injection administered every other month. PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed.

Why is it important for pharmacists to be knowledgeable about PrEP and the rules and regulations governing its provision by pharmacists? This month’s Pharmacy Today cover story breaks this down. Currently, pharmacists in 17 states have some degree of authority in providing PrEP or PEP. Inserting pharmacists into the PrEP equation is a key step to meeting a tremendous gap in health care.

Only a small percentage of individuals for whom PrEP is indicated are actually taking it. According to CDC, in 2020, only about 25% of the 1.2 million people for whom PrEP is recommended were prescribed it. This disparity is especially striking in minority populations: A mere 9% of eligible Black patients and 16% of eligible Latino patients have been prescribed PrEP.

In this issue, you’ll also find the latest on newly approved drugs, new treatment options for pediatric patients with T2D, and recent immunization recommendations from ACIP. Find implementation tips on test and treat programs as pharmacy’s scope of practice expands and catch up on your CPE credit with this month’s article on managing chronic stress to prevent burnout.

Pharmacist-owner at Mission Wellness in San Francisco, Maria Lopez, PharmD, has experience with providing PrEP to patients. According to Lopez, if it wasn’t for pharmacists providing PrEP, her patients “definitely would’ve had a gap in their medication, their levels would go down, and then they would be at risk for HIV.” Although the percentage of eligible individuals receiving PrEP is on the rise—up to 25% in 2020 from just 3% in 2015—there is clearly an important gap remaining in this area. Learn more about rules for providing PrEP in your state and how you can help your patients get access to this much-needed therapy in this issue of Pharmacy Today.

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