Having trouble recommending OTC supplements for your patients? We have put together some guidelines for how to discuss nutrient depletion based on tips and tricks from pharmacies just like yours!
Before you talk to your patients about the benefits of supplements, make sure that your staff is well-versed on the topic of nutrient depletion. This booklet is a helpful resource that lays out common supplements, the drugs known to deplete them, and the symptoms of depletion.
Once you feel you and your staff are prepared to handle these conversations, it is time to share your knowledge with your patients! Remember, your patients trust you as their healthcare professionals. You are here to fill in the gaps that doctors may overlook when prescribing their medications. That said, you also do not want to push OTC supplements blindly. You should prepare a targeted approach that is unique to each patient and the medications they are taking.
Start the conversation by asking your patient if they are experiencing any of the common side effects of their nutrient depleting medications. This will help you gather information to better frame the rest of your interaction.
Conversations can go a few different ways. Below are two examples of interactions you may have with patients.
Pharmacist: Hey, I see here you are taking (medication). Have you been experiencing (side effects)?
Patient: Now that you say it I have been experiencing (side effects)
Pharmacist: I am sorry to hear that, but not to worry as this is a common side effect of (medication). The good news is that (supplement) is commonly used to help treat (side effect). Here is a handout with more information about (supplement).
Pharmacist: Nice to see you again (patient name). I noticed on your medication list that you have been taking (medication). Have you been experiencing any of these (side effects)?
Patient: No, I don't think that I have.
Pharmacist: I am happy to hear that. [Hand them a printout of the informational letter]. (Supplement) is known to help in treating (side effect) so let us know if you start to notice anything new and we would be happy to help you out.
In conversation B the patient is not experiencing the side effects. This should not deter you from empowering him/her with knowledge. Giving patients the handout to take home gives them the time to assess if they are in fact experiencing any of the common symptoms you described.
One pharmacist shared with us that he had a patient who had been taking cholesterol medication for over 20 years and she thought muscle cramps were something she would have to live with for the rest of her life. After her pharmacist recommended Coq10, the muscle cramps completely went away! This seemingly small suggestion has the power to make a big difference in the lives of your patients.
Another benefit of the nutrient depletion program is that it can increase adherence. Many patients do not want to take their medications because of the uncomfortable side effects they can cause. When you introduce a supplement that can remedy or mediate these side effects, patients will be more likely to be adherent to their nutrient depleting medications. This is a win-win for you and the patient!
Check out this article to learn how to increase your OTC sales by tracking nutrient depletion opportunities.