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A Guide to Drug Dosage Forms for Students Considering a Pharmacy Assistant Training Program

become a pharmacy assistant

Medication can be sold or administered as tablets, creams, injections, drops, capsules and more. These different ways that pharmaceutical drugs are administered, along with the physical forms that they take, are collectively referred to as drug dosage forms.

One of the most important responsibilities a pharmacy assistant has is preparing pharmaceutical drugs for customers. A part of that responsibility includes understanding what drug dosage forms are, how they are used and the advantages and disadvantage of each form. If you’re considering a pharmacy assistant career, read on to learn more.

Pharmacy Assistants Should Know About These Drug Dosage Form Categories

There are two categories under which the different types of drug dosage forms fall: route of administration and physical form. Route of administration refers to how the drug actually enters the body, such as by being ingested or applied topically.

Different routes of administration include, but are not limited to:

  • Oral
  • Topical
  • Inhaled
  • Subcutaneous
  • Rectal
  • Intravenous

The physical form, on the other hand, refers to whether the drug is administered as a solid, semisolid, liquid or gas. There is a lot of overlap between the route of administration and the physical form a drug takes. A drug that can be inhaled, for example, such as an aerosol, will come in a gaseous form. One that is applied topically, on the other hand, will come in a semisolid form.

pharmacy assistant training program

Pharmacy assistant training teaches students that drugs come in many different physical dose forms

Pharmacy Assistants Understand Why Different Drug Forms Are Used

Various circumstances, such as the condition being treated, the needs of the patient and how the drug is best absorbed by the body, will determine which drug dosage form is best. Once you’ve completed your training and become a pharmacy assistant, you will find that most people tend to prefer drugs that are administered orally, especially as tablets or capsules. However, oral medication is not suitable for everyone. The patient may be uncooperative, such as if they suffer from dementia or if they are young children. Also, stomach acid and enzymes may interfere with how the drug is absorbed. In such cases, a suppository or an injection may be more practical for administering the drug.

career training

Pharmacy assistants work with oral medication frequently, since it is generally preferred by patients

Suppositories and injections are both invasive and many patients, especially young children, tend to dislike them. The career training you’ll receive in a good pharmacy assistant program will help you understand the basics of pharmacology, including which dosage forms are more invasive than others. For example, a non-invasive drug dosage form, like a topical cream, may be ideal for a patient who has a rash or muscle pain. The downside with topicals, however, is that they are absorbed into the body at a slower rate than other forms of medication, such as intravenous, for example, which allows the medication to enter the bloodstream rather quickly.

There are various other factors to consider when choosing the right drug dosage form. Some dosage forms are easier to measure than others, while some need to be absorbed into specific areas of the body. As you will learn, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all drug dosage form and understanding the basic differences between each one is part of the job of a pharmacy assistant.

Are you interested in enrolling in a pharmacy assistant training program?

Contact KLC College today to learn how you can get started!

5 Signs You’re Ready for Pharmacy Assistant Training

pharmacy assistant training program

Career choices are often difficult, so it’s important to take stock of your own individual skills and qualifications when making a decision. Once you recognize your strengths, it’s much easier to pinpoint the line of work to which you are best suited.

A career as a pharmacy assistant, for instance, is one which requires a specialized skillset that includes a broad range of technical and soft skills, including customer service, attention to detail, and the ability to retain complex medical knowledge. Here’s how to tell if it is the right career for you.

Pharmacy Assistants Possess Great Organizational Skills

Pharmacy assistants are often tasked with the distribution of complex medications through the filling of prescriptions. Walk into any pharmacy and you’ll see a variety of different products in front of and behind the counter, and excellent attention to detail is required to ensure that no errors are made during drug dispensing.

This is done by maintaining an organized workspace, where products are stored correctly at all times. If you like to stay organized and tidy in your personal and working lives, then pharmacy assistant training could be a great fit.

Pharmacy assistants have excellent attention to detail

Pharmacy assistants have excellent attention to detail

Effective Communicators are a Great Asset in Pharmacies

Communication skills are valuable in so many careers, and it’s no different for pharmacy assistants. They must maintain close interaction with work colleagues, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, to ensure that all staff are notified of potential problems.

Pharmacy assistants are also in close contact with customers, many of whom may be in distress as they seek a remedy for their own ailment. Effective communication skills are vital in providing clarity to customers about the medication they are about to take, including the directions for use.

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Can Make Your Training Easier

Some students may already possess knowledge or experience in a pharmacy environment or another course, and this can be used to your advantage in the pharmacy assistant training program at KLC College.

Before beginning your course, you can take a Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) challenge exam. If you achieve a score of at least 75%, then you can use that certification as part of your further studies. This is a great way to get a head start on the path to a pharmacy assistant career, so find out more about your eligibility.

The Modern Pharmacy Needs Students With Excellent IT Skills

Pharmacies include a wide variety of medication and other health-related items, and computer software is important in tracking their ongoing availability. Customer records must also be maintained, so proficiency in computer skills is highly valuable among pharmacy assistants.

Many modern pharmacies are able to accept prescription details online, too, which speeds up the distribution of necessary medication even further. If you enjoy working on computers, then you’ll be able to put those skills to good use as a pharmacy assistant.

Pharmacy assistants should be comfortable using a computer

Pharmacy assistants should be comfortable using a computer

Use Your Math Skills to Good Effect When You Become a Pharmacy Assistant

The medication distributed by pharmacies is complex, and pharmacy assistants need math skills to perform calculations and ensure customers are being given the right prescriptions. KLC College’s program, for example, requires that students have a minimum of one senior math subject with their Grade 12 Provincial Secondary School Diploma. If you’re a wiz with numbers, a pharmacy assistant career is a great way to put your skills to good use in the modern workplace.

Does it sound like you have what it takes to become a pharmacy assistant?

Find out more about our dedicated diploma program at KLC College.