Clinical Program Spotlight: A Pharmacy Team Success Story

March 18, 2019

At 70 years old, Mary, a patient at Hallmark Health PHO was experiencing unexplained weight loss over a span of 18 months. Mary’s primary care physician, Dr. Laura Carman, was concerned for her patient and was considering having Mary screened for cancer, in order to determine the cause of the problem.

But before moving forward with these tests, Dr. Carman reached out to the NEQCA Pharmacy team, requesting a comprehensive medication review. “I chose to reach out to a NEQCA pharmacist because I would not have time to research the various herb products that it turns out my patient was using," explained Dr. Carman.

NEQCA Pharmacist Yvonne LeBlanc, conducted a medication review of Mary’s medication regimen, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements. Mary was also consuming a tea on a daily basis per her herbalist, which included a number of additional herbal components. The majority of herbal supplements had no listed or reported potential interactions with the patient’s medication regimen.

However, one ingredient included in the tea (ephedra) has reported weight loss properties and cardiac effects. Mary showed symptoms found in individuals who take ephedra for extended periods. With this finding, Mary stopped drinking the herbal tea.

After this small change, Mary’s health quickly took a turn for the better. She began to gain weight and return to her normal routine. Not only was Mary’s wellbeing improved, but the NEQCA team’s finding saved the 70 year old woman from undergoing unnecessary and costly testing.


*For patient confidentiality, patient names have been changed