Drug Therapy Problems in NCAA Division I-A Minnesota Gopher Student-Athletes

  • Becky Merkey University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy
  • Amy Pittenger University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy
  • Shannon Reidt OptumInsight at United Health Group in Minneapolis
  • Brian Isetts University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy
Keywords: Athlete, Medication Therapy Management, Pharmacist, Student health services, Sports medicine


As with all competitive sports, in NCAA Division I-A athletics it is important to maximize controllable factors in order for each athlete to compete at his or her best. One important and controllable factor that has the potential for improvement is the athlete’s medication experience. When medications are used to treat the correct condition, administered at the right time, and with the correct dose, they have the potential to improve outcomes and enhance athletic performance. As an example, it is essential that a soccer player who has asthma is using the correct inhaler, at the correct time, with proper technique, and with the correct number of puffs in order to support breathing and improve oxygen transportation during a game. Ineffective and unsafe use of medications can lead to serious disease-related events and also prevent an athlete from achieving their performance goals when they are not being used correctly. The goal of this project was to explore the presence and extent of drug therapy problems (DTPs) among a college athlete population. Within the 10 student-athletes who were interviewed, there were a total of 36 drug therapy problems identified, many of which were tied to a lack of understanding for their own medication regimen. This project suggests that medication-related needs may not be appropriately addressed among the college athlete population. The addition of a pharmacist on the athletic healthcare team would ensure appropriate medication use and optimization for health outcomes and overall athletic performance.


Article Type: Original Research


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Received 2019-03-26
Accepted 2019-04-29
Published 2019-05-06
Pharmacy Practice & Practice-Based Research