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Non-drug interventions

Embossed pills

During February, The Pharmaceutical Journal will have a special focus on the increasing use of non-pharmacological treatments in the health service. The axiom a “pill for every ill” has become outdated, and we will analyse how pharmacists and others can use lifestyle change, social prescribing and psychological therapies alongside medicines to provide more holistic care for patients.


Rethinking our approach to chronic pain

A rethink of our approach to chronic pain is desperately neededSubscription

Chronic pain places a huge burden on millions of individuals, families and carers in Great Britain. However, despite being such a prevalent condition, the tools for managing it are pretty blunt.


What role can pharmacy play in the social prescribing revolution?

What role can pharmacy play in the social prescribing revolution?Subscription

The number of social prescribing staff has more than doubled in the past year, but pharmacy has yet to engage with schemes that can help patients with their wellbeing.

The importance of psychosocial approaches to dementia

Storytelling, music and song: how psychosocial approaches to dementia change livesSubscription

While medicines can be an important part of dementia treatment, there are doubts over whether they provide meaningful benefits for patients. As a result, emphasis is being placed on non-pharmacological approaches, some of which have had a transformative impact on the lives of patients with dementia.

Concept of a person in pain being caught in time

Losing faith: the patients waiting years for specialist pain treatmentSubscription

Delays in accessing pain services in some parts of the country mean that people with chronic pain are struggling to cope.

diabetes 19

Reversing type 2 diabetes: how pharmacists are helping patients to go drug-freeSubscription

Pharmacists can help patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus adopt a low-carbohydrate diet and reduce their medicines load.

Image of google search engine

Health anxiety: currently trendingSubscription

Do pharmacists have a role in reducing the side effects of ‘Dr Google’?


Pharmacy and nutrition concept

It's not just medicines that improve health — pharmacists need a better understanding of nutritionSubscription

Research shows that dietary changes can help to manage conditions such as diabetes and asthma, so undergraduate pharmacy courses must better prepare pharmacists to advise patients on healthy eating behaviours.

Conversation concept

Ignorance is not bliss: why we need more empowered patients

Shared decision-making should become a mandatory part of training for all healthcare professionals to improve collaboration with their patients, save the NHS billions, and ultimately improve patient outcomes, say Aseem Malhotra and Sue Bailey.


Cognitive behavioural therapy: how does it work?

Cognitive behavioural therapy: breaking the cycleSubscription

The most common alternative to pharmacological treatment offered to patients with depression and anxiety by the NHS is cognitive behavioural therapy, or ‘CBT’. This guide details how it works.


Jamie Waterall

Jamie Waterall: ‘Pharmacy is fundamental to achieving our ambitions’Subscription

As deputy chief nurse at Public Health England, Jamie Waterall is passionate about the opportunities for pharmacy in improving the nation’s health.

photo of Chris Roberts, medicines management lead for Fleetwood Primary Care Home

Chris Roberts: 'We're trying to demedicalise health care'

In the first of a series profiling individual Royal Pharmaceutical Society members who are doing great work, Chris Roberts, medicines management lead for the award-winning Fleetwood Primary Care Home, tells Corrinne Burns how pharmacists, their colleagues and the town’s residents are working together to help patients take control of their health.


Why storytelling is essential to my work as a mental health pharmacist

Why storytelling is essential to my work as a mental health pharmacist

Stories bring us closer together, help us build trust and deliver wisdom, hope and healing — never underestimate their power, says mental health pharmacist Nana Tomova.

Alcohol addiction

Pharmacists: we can support people with alcohol issues

Brief interventions by community pharmacists — which require little time and no specialist training — can make a big difference to people with alcohol addiction, says Addaction pharmacy director Roz Gittins.

Research briefing

Teenagers eating ultra-processed food

Consumption of ultra-processed foods linked to diabetes riskSubscription

Consuming greater proportions of ultra-processed foods is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, results of a prospective cohort study have suggested.

Person with Parkinson's disease

Multimodal exercise improves Parkinson’s disease symptomsSubscription

Exercise plans involving both physical and mental challenges, may improve outcomes in people with Parkinson’s disease, research presented at the Future Physiology conference has shown.

Obese people sitting down

Type 2 diabetes remission possible with modest weight lossSubscription

People with type 2 diabetes mellitus who achieve weight loss of 10% or more within five years of diagnosis are more than twice as likely to go into remission than people who maintain the same weight, research in Diabetes Medicine has shown.

Older person hands

Exercise interventions reduce falls in older adultsSubscription

The rate of falls in older adults living in the community can be effectively reduced with exercise interventions, the authors of a recent Cochrane review have concluded.

Woman exercising in park

Exercise may be as effective as medicines in hypertensionSubscription

Exercise interventions are as effective in reducing systolic blood pressure as many antihypertensive medicines in people with hypertension, according to the results of a network meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.


Leaflets pharmacy services

Community pharmacists' contribution to public health: assessing the global evidence baseSubscription

In the UK, community pharmacies are more accessible to the general population than general practices. Therefore, government white papers and briefing documents from pharmacy professional bodies have advocated the expansion of the role of community pharmacists, particularly in relation to the provision of services that contribute to disease prevention and health improvement. It is unknown whether the same evidence exists globally for the expansion of these roles. This article attempts ...


Exercise class

Encouraging self-care and positive lifestyle changes in patients with depressionSubscription

Non-pharmacological interventions, such as maintaining good sleep hygiene and a healthy diet, can help improve, resolve or prevent depression.

Someone measuring their blood pressure while exercising

Managing hypertension: the role of diet and exerciseSubscription

It is well known that high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. However, there are lifestyle interventions that pharmacists can encourage patients to implement to reduce this risk.

Woman holds a positive pregnancy test

Preconception care: dietary and lifestyle adviceSubscription

Engagement by women with a pharmacist or healthcare professional for preconception advice and care ranges from 18% to 45%. Pharmacists are uniquely placed to provide this advice when individuals present for new registration checks, well-woman consultations, contraceptive advice and reviews, as well as medicine use reviews.

Anchin Pavilion (Florida, US) residents Helen Waldman and Jerry Osterweild experience Kobernick-Anchin-Benderson’s Multisensory and Reflections Program.

Dementia care: an overview of available non-pharmacological therapiesSubscription

A summary of non-pharmacological therapies for patients with dementia that may be used alongside licensed medicines.


Dan White, a consultant clinical psychotherapist (left) with Adam Hamilton, a medicines management technician

A day in the life of a consultant clinical psychotherapist Subscription

Dan White combines cognitive behavioural therapy and clinical pharmacy to train colleagues and help patients with mental health conditions.

Andrew Rowlands, a lead nutrition pharmacist at Wirral University Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

A day in the life of a nutrition support pharmacist Subscription

Clinical nutrition is an area of nutrition that requires pharmacists to work closely with the clinical team, rather than focusing solely on compounding.

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