The Most Loved and Most Hated Medication to Work With in the Pharmacy
By Savannah Nazarek, CPhT
Over the years, pharmaceutical companies have been growing, and more drugs are being developed to help patients with numerous health conditions and diseases. Even with the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen countless new drug therapies on the market. I have been a pharmacy technician for three years, so I haven't seen as much as someone who has 20+ years of experience. I had numerous opportunities to talk to pharmacy technicians and interns, and I got mixed opinions on their favorite and least favorite drugs to work with. This post includes the top three favorites and least favorites to work with in the pharmacy.
"Anything that does not need to be counted"
I heard this answer from a lot of techs at my retail position. We are experiencing the volume due to an abundance of vaccines, covid testing, and just general workload - we want to get prescriptions filled as quickly and accurately as possible. Inhalers, creams, 30/90 count bottles, pretty much anything you can "slap a label on" and move on, was a favorite.
"Anything that smells good"
With a poll on NPTA's social media page, a lot of technicians said they like potassium tablets because they smell like cake batter. I have yet to come across these tablets within my years as a tech, but I believe it. A lot of prescriptions smell like yummy foods. I know that there is a brand of levothyroxine 112mcg that smells like strawberry yogurt! Also, liquid suspensions such as amoxicillin smell good, like a fruit punch, before mixing. The medication's scent can vary based on the manufacturer, so no two generics (or brands) will smell the same.
This is my personal favorite. I enjoy compounding, and a medication that originated in the city I grew up in is also pretty cool. A mix of mineral oil, Aquaphor, and cholestyramine powder makes this drug. Pittsburgh paste can be made using different ingredients as well. A medication that is versatile and can get the job done is a favorite in my book.
After talking to numerous people and doing research, there were a TON more drugs that were unliked. The list goes on and on about what pharmacy tech's least favorite drugs are. There were many options, but included on the list below are some common answers that I have heard over the past few weeks while working.
Least Favorite Drugs
This medication is one of my hospital pharmacy's least favorite to make. It takes way too long to reconstitute. I have noticed that it is taking even longer to reconstitute than before. Typically, it would take about 20-30 minutes, and that is on the short end. The longest I have had to wait for dapto to dissolve is approximately 4.5-5 hours. Maybe it was just a bad vial, but never less, it takes too long to reconstitute.
This medication is by far one of the stinky-est medications that I have unfortunately had to work with, among others. Both capsules and vials. A lot of other techs can agree with me that it stinks. It smells like rotten eggs. It is a pain to deal with, especially the vials. If you were to spill some on the counter or it were to land on your clothes... everyone in the pharmacy will know that you filled the prescription; the smell lingers.
“Anything that is a microscopic size”
Medications that are so small that you can barely see them are the worst to work with. A common medication that was said was Lomotil. Since it is a controlled drug, it cannot be counted using a ScriptPro or a Kirby machine. It has to be hand-counted due to it being a controlled medication. There are numerous other drugs that are small and hard to see and count such as hydrochlorothiazide tablets, for example. Also, those are some of the smallest tablets on the market.
The world of pharmacy is changing day by day, and new medications are being put on the market for patient use. The list above outlines what most pharmacy technicians' favorite and least favorite drugs to work with are. While there are the classic favorites and least favorites, these answers could change within the next few years while more drugs are being developed and dispensed for patient use. For now, these are the favorite and least favorite medications to work with.