BE A.W.A.R.E: Pharmacists Can Help You "Butt Out"

For Immediate Release Friday, March 9, 2012

 BE A.W.A.R.E: Pharmacists Can Help You “Butt Out”

Dartmouth, NS – As Pharmacy Awareness enters its sixth day, pharmacists across Nova Scotia are urging patients to BE A.W.A.R.E and get a Basic Medication Review.

The Basic Medication Review Service was introduced in Nova Scotia pharmacies last fall. Since the introduction of the service, pharmacists across the province are discovering that it is a prime opportunity to talk to their patients about their lifestyles and how their choices can impact their health.

“Often times we as pharmacists aren’t even aware the patient is a smoker, ” says Ms. Wyman. “Medication reviews are a great opportunity to engage in these types of conversations.”

These conversations can lead to increased assistance by pharmacists who frequently hold smoking cessation programs in their pharmacists and other community venues. Port Hawkesbury Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Michael Hall has teamed up with the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority (GASHA) Addictions Services to offer a variety of smoking cessation services in his pharmacy.

“Rather than focusing on the obvious negative health effects of smoking, our aim is to confirm the positive impacts quitting smoking will have on a variety of areas in each individual’s life,” says Jamie Fraser, a Nicotine Community Outreach Work with Addiction Services at GASHA. “No matter what age, there are benefits to quitting smoking.”


“People of all ages can benefit from getting a Basic Medication Review,” says Paul Zinck, owner and pharmacist at MacDonnell’s Pharmacy in St. Peter’s. “You may not take many prescribed medications, but there are a number of over the counter medications than may interact that you may not think about.”

For those trying to quit smoking, pharmacists work with their patients to find the right balance of medication, education, counselling and support for each person they counsel. The 20-25 minute Basic Medication Review session goes beyond just reviewing prescribed medications. The pharmacist also looks at any over the counter medications, vitamins or other health supplements a patient may be taking. It gives a pharmacists the chance to really get to know his or her patient.

The theme for Pharmacy Awareness Week 2012 is “BE A.W.A.R.E.” It is based on an acronym developed by pharmacist Karen Fraser, who works at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre in Amherst. “I think people everywhere should be reminded of how important it is to be their own best advocate for their medication regime,” said Ms. Fraser. Each letter represents important advice that patients should follow.

A – Ask your pharmacist about your medications.

W – Work with your pharmacist to keep your medication records current.

A – Always keep this list updated if something changes in your regimen.

R – Report to your pharmacist when doses are changed in hospital.

E – Educate yourself on what you are taking and why.


As part of Pharmacy Awareness Week, participating pharmacies are offering an opportunity to win a Basic Medication Review. For more information on participating pharmacies and the contest, please visit


For more information, please contact:

Amy Wagg
Director of Communications
Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia
Phone: (902) 422-9583, ext 4