Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Drug Information at the University of Michigan

Posted by Alison Van Kampen at Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Well, rotation number 3 is over, and I had a blast.  Most people will tell you before P4 year starts that Drug Information is a boring rotation, but I must beg to disagree.  I found this to be a really fun rotation that really suited my personality. 

The environment was very low key, which I like, and it didn't hurt that we had lots of space to work as opposed to being crammed down in B2 and fighting to find an available computer.  It also helped that all of the people in the Drug Information Service were great to work with (and I'm not just saying this because I know that they will be reading this post).  My primary preceptor was Dr. Stumpf and I also spent a lot of time with Dr. Bazzi, Dr. Dasse, and Dr. Sweet.  In addition, my fellow student, Matt Perez, and I spent a lot of time with the new resident as wekk. Everyone was very nice, they were helpful when I worked on projects and answered question, and they gave some pretty sound advice for the future.

I found the tasks and projects that we were assigned to be helpful, interesting, and often challenging.  Everyday we were responsible for taking a phone shift.  On the phone shift we would take calls from various people regarding unusual drug questions.  Questions would come in from everyone from physicians, pharmacy faculty, nurses, outpatient pharmacies, and lay-people. The majority of questions had to do with stability of a drug that was left out of the refrigerator (which often resulted in a long call to the manufacturer) but other questions were very interesting and required extensive research.  Here are just a few:

Is it safe to use sedative hypnotics in a patient that has insomnia related to Lewy Body Dementia? and if so, which ones?

Why is it that for all SSRIs, increased risk of bleeding is listed as an interaction with Clopidogrel, but fluoxetine has the added interaction of decreased efficacy of fluoxetine? What is different about fluoxetine?

Should a woman taking medications that compromise her immune system avoid contact with her grandchildren who recently received a live varicella vaccine? and if so for how long?

Are there any concerns, other than lack of efficacy, for a 14 month old patient that was being administered expired CellCept for the past 2 months?

In addition to answering these questions, we also had small projects like filling out MedWatch forms, learning about and determining the pros and cons of various sources of information (there are way more out there than you can imagine), finding ways to critically evaluate journal articles and the statistics they publish, and attending meetings at the hospital.  

We had two larger projects as well.  One was writing a newsletter article, mine was about the possible association between maternal use of SSRIs during pregnacy and Persistent Pulmonary Hypertesion of the Newborn, which was pretty cool.  The other large project was creating and delivering a P&T presentation on a new drug to the Drug Information staff.  This was exciting because I got to research and learn everything about a new drug, Carfilzomib, and learn more about the disease state that it treats, multiple myeloma.

Overall, I really liked this rotation.  There was very little patient interaction, which was good and bad.  Also because I'm not good at being put on the spot, I really liked that I was able to thoroughly research my answer to a question before delivering an answer. AND I was able to learn a lot of interesting and unsusal things about drugs (interesting and unusual has always been very attractive to me).  I would definitely recommend this site to anyone for their Drug Information Rotation.

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