Pharmacists in Nova Scotia can assess and prescribe for minor ailments.
What is a Minor Ailment?
A minor ailment is:
- A condition that can be managed with minimal treatment and/or self care strategies
- Usually a short term condition
- Does not require any blood work or lab tests
- Can be managed by your pharmacist at the pharmacy
- Not intended to replace regular visits with your pharmacy care provider
A minor ailment can be treated with:
- “At-home” or self-care treatments
- Over-the-counter medication treatments
- Prescription medications
The following are possible Minor Ailments that your pharmacist can assess and prescribe for:
- Dyspepsia (indigestion)
- Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (acid reflux)
- Non-infectious Diarrhea
- Allergic Rhinitis
- Nasal Congestion
- Sore Throat
- Mild Headache
- Minor Muscle Pain
- Minor Joint Pain
- Minor Sleep Disorders
- Dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps)
- Emergency Contraception
- Xerophthalmia (dry eyes)
- Oral Ulcers
- Oral Fungal Infection (thrush)
- Fungal Infections of the Skin (such as Athlete’s Foot)
- Vaginal Candidiasis (yeast infection)
- Threadworms and Pinworms
- Herpes Simplex (cold sores)
- Contact Allergic Dermatitis (skin reaction from coming into contact with an allergen)
- Mild Acne
- Mild to Moderate Eczema
- Mild Urticaria (including bites and stings) (hives)
- Calluses and Corns
- Warts (excluding facial and genital)
- Smoking Cessation
What happens during an assessment?
- The pharmacist will explain the process and obtain your consent to complete an assessment
- You will meet with the pharmacist in a private counselling room, usually next to the pharmacy
- Some pharmacies may require an appointment
- The pharmacist will have a detailed discussion with you to assess your ailment
- The pharmacist will ask what medical conditions you have, what medications you take, what kind of symptoms you are having, and how long have you had them
- At this point, the pharmacist will make a recommendation for an over-the-counter medication or a prescription medication
- If the pharmacist believes your condition is more serious they will refer you to your doctor.
- Prescriptions written by a pharmacist are paid for by both provincial and private drug plans, as long as that medication would normally be a benefit
- There is a fee for the assessment, whether or not the pharmacist prescribes something. This service is not yet covered by any provincial or private drug plans.
- There will be a pilot program in 2015 for people with provincial drug coverage, to have the cost of the assessment paid for, for certain minor ailments – check with your pharmacist for more information
What happens after the assessment?
- If a medication is prescribed during the assessment, the pharmacist will prepare your prescription or you can take the prescription to another pharmacy to be filled
- The pharmacist then sends notification to your doctor for their records
- If you do not have a doctor you can be given a copy of the doctor’s notice to keep until you have a doctor
- The pharmacist will call you a few days later to see how you feel. Depending on how you are doing, the pharmacist will tell you to continue your treatment, they will make a different recommendation, or tell you if you need to see your doctor
Do all pharmacies in Nova Scotia offer minor ailment assessment and prescribing services?
- Most, but not all, pharmacies in Nova Scotia provide minor ailment assessment and prescribing services.*
Will I need to pay to have a minor ailment assessed?
- Fees may vary by pharmacy*
* Please contact your pharmacy for more information