Naturopathic physician licensed to prescribe pharmaceutical medicines:
Courtenay naturopathic physician, Dr. Deidre Macdonald, was one of the first group of naturopathic physicians in Canada to be granted the authority to prescribe pharmaceutical medicines. After a rigorous pharmaceutical upgrading course taught by UBC pharmacy instructors in 2010, she successful completed oral and written examinations to receive her pharmaceutical prescribing licence.
The prescription medicines available to naturopathic physicians include most prescription medications that general practitioner medical doctors have access to. Among the medicines not included are pain medications, steroids and chemotherapy drugs.
The primary purpose of this change is to ensure that naturopathic physicians can continue to utilize the increasing number of natural medicines that are becoming “scheduled”, meaning available only by prescription. In addition, with access to most pharmaceutical medicines, naturopathic physicians will be better able to serve the needs of their patients. Whether it is to prescribe an antibiotic for a serious infection, to provide an antidepressant to a patient in need, or use pharmaceuticals to decrease blood pressure, pharmaceutical medicines are deemed to have a place in any primary care medical setting, including the naturopathic physician’s office.
Dr. Deidre Macdonald says, “I have always believed that most health issues are best addressed by the tenet of lifestyle first, natural medicines second and pharmaceutical medicines third. I still aim to find the underlying cause of health problems and take the time to work with patients to make the real changes necessary to find lasting solutions to their health problems. I discuss with my patients the full range of options for treating their conditions, including dietary change, exercise, stress management, herbal medicine, physical therapy, homeopathy and pharmaceutical options. Pharmaceutical medications are one tool in the quest for health. We discuss the pros and cons of each approach and the patient decides what they feel most comfortable with. The training I have received in pharmacology helps me to educate patients about those medicines that have real benefits that outweigh the risks, and those that do not. My aim is for my patients to have the best plan for their individual health goals and at times that will include pharmaceutical medicines.”
Helping women with hormonal issues is a passion for Dr. Macdonald. She can prescribe bio-identical hormones for women with menstrual issues, menopausal issues, thyroid problems and more.