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Low Weight Molecular Heparin Injection Teaching Service

Cancer patients are at increased risk of developing blood clots, which may potentially be life threatening. They require treatment with low weight molecular heparin, a medication that needs to be injected under the skin daily for 6 months or longer. Not all blood clots are identified at the initial screening at the cancer clinic. People who require treatment after they’ve left the clinic usually need to go to the Emergency Department to receive their first dose because the clinic is closed. For many patients, the experience in the emergency department may not be ideal and may often include long waits, not enough time to learn how to self-inject, and no contact person to ask for follow-up questions after returning home.

A Shoppers Drug Mart pilot program consists of the patient coming to one of our pharmacies instead of the Emergency department. The patient’s oncologist faxes a request to the pharmacy, and the pharmacist:
• Reviews lab work and conducts a Medication Reconciliation o Medication Reconciliation is a service provided to ensure a patient is taking all the required medications, without any duplications or medications missing after being discharged from the hospital
• Weighs the patient when they arrive to ensure appropriate medication does • Prescribes low weight molecular heparin
• Administers the first dose to the patient
• Trains the patient on self-administration of the injection
• Follows up with the patient by phone the next day
• Orders a lab test to monitor the effects of the low weight molecular heparin

Feedback from patients on this service has been overwhelmingly positive. It is an innovative application of the services pharmacists can provide in Alberta: prescribe, inject, review lab values, and order lab tests.

If you are an Alberta resident, click here to find a Shoppers Drug Mart store that offers this service.