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The Consultant Pharmacist's Role in Dialysis: An Introduction

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Objectives: To describe the emerging role of the consultant pharmacist in dialysis, to provide an overview of dialysis procedures, and to discuss drug-dosing considerations and medication-related problems facing chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients.

Data Sources: Primary literature from medical journals and health care information available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the New Jersey Department of Health, the National Kidney Foundation, and the United States Renal Data System.

Study Selection and Data Extraction: Relevant and current literatures related to CKD, dialysis, consultant pharmacist, and medication-related problems in CKD and dialysis patients.

Data Synthesis: CKD affects many aspects of life, and the consequences of CKD can be devastating. Dialysis is an alternative medical treatment option for many people living without functioning kidneys. Often, complicated drug regimens and multiple pharmacotherapies are required for the management of end stage renal disease (ESRD). Medicationrelated problems occur at a relatively high rate and the cost for management of CKD is high. General background on CKD, the emerging role of the consultant pharmacist, an overview of the kidneys, dialysis procedures and medication-dosing consideration, and medication-related problems are discussed in this article.

Conclusion: Dialysis patients often require multiple pharmacotherapies and complicated drug regimens to manage their conditions. They have increased risk of drug adverse events and drug complications. The consultant pharmacist can play a key role in the multidisciplinary renal-care team to manage pharmacotherapy for this vulnerable patient population.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Consultant pharmacist; Dialysis; Hemodialysis; Medication-related problem; Peritoneal dialysis

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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