CVS Health pharmacists support patients fasting for Ramadan
CVS Health is sharing how pharmacists can help guide medication adherence before, during and following Ramadan.
Each year during the Islamic lunar year, many Muslim observers of Ramadan fast from dawn to dusk for 29 to 30 days. Fasting can impact individual health and disease management based on a variety of religious, personal or health reasons. CVS Health pharmacists are equipped with the knowledge to support patients during this celebration.
“One of the most important things for practicing Muslims to do prior to fasting is start a conversation with their pharmacist,” said Mariya Farooqi, a pharmacist at a CVS Pharmacy in Dallas, Texas, and faith-based organizer within her mosque and Muslim community. “In my experience, patients may have questions and aren’t sure who to turn to. Our message to patients is we are here, and we can work with you during this time.”
Taking the time to learn more about fasting and medication management today is an important step in planning for the annual celebration.
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What happens to your body during a fast?
When a person fasts, the body uses up its glucose and glycogen—two basic energy sources for the body—and begins using other energy sources stored in fat to keep the body, including brain cells, working at full capacity. In addition to shifting how your body gets energy, fasting can also impact your sleep and activity patterns. Fasting during the day and eating only in the evening can lead to changes in sleep schedules and socializing. These changes, in addition to fasting, can impact the body’s natural sleep rhythms and release of hormones. It’s also important to understand that fasting can have an impact on your physical and mental health.
How your pharmacist can help during Ramadan fasting
In addition to consulting with a prescriber or spiritual leader to prepare for a fast, pharmacists are a great resource for support. Pharmacists at CVS Pharmacy, CVS Specialty and CVS Caremark can work with patients to manage medications according to a patient’s fasting needs. They can advise on the potential effects of discontinuing therapy, counsel patients about medication scheduling and provide tips to help patients keep up with changes to therapy schedules.
“Our goal is to provide patients with personalized care, whether it’s for their health condition, or in this case due to a religious observance,” said Siddharth Tenneti, vice president of pharmacy growth and omnichannel patient care programs at CVS Pharmacy. “We’re working to offer culturally competent pharmacy care for all of our patients, building upon the trusted relationship our pharmacists have developed locally within their communities for years.”
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What medications are allowed during fasting?
Non-oral medications such as injections, inhalers and suppositories are usually allowed but people may choose to observe Ramadan fasting in their own way. Patients may also choose to avoid over-the-counter medications during a fast after consulting with their healthcare provider. Patients can consult prescribers or religious leaders on using certain medications like nasal sprays and eye drops in these cases.
Consulting with your pharmacist and healthcare team can help guide medication adherence before, during and following Ramadan.