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Neurocritical Care Society Pharmacy Section Year in Review

By Currents Editor posted 01-30-2020 09:28


By Jason Makii, PharmD, MBA, FCCM, FNCS, BCPS, BCCCP, Chair, Pharmacy Section Leadership Committee 

The Pharmacy Section celebrated numerous successes in 2019. Sixty-six pharmacists attended the NCS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, in October 2019 with several members presenting their research, moderating sessions and speaking throughout the event. I would like to acknowledge and thank the outstanding committee members for their service and dedication this past year. A special thanks to Gretchen Brophy for her leadership of NCS as her term on the Executive Committee concluded. Below are some highlights of the Pharmacy Section’s activities this past year.

Pharmacotherapy of Neurocritical Care Series (PONS)

The fourth volume of PONS topics were released this past year. Topics covered in Volume 4 include beta-blockade in traumatic brain injury, pharmacological management of the brain dead organ donor, intra-arterial and intraventricular therapies for management of vasospasm, and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic considerations in the management of the neurocritical care patient.

This on-call webinar series currently offers 32 core pharmacotherapy topics with four new releases planned for 2020. The PONS series is an innovative tool to promote dissemination of updated information to clinicians as well as trainees and aligns with the educational mission of the Society. It is one of the most visited pages on the NCS website. Thank you to this year’s PONS chairs, Mehrnaz Pajoumand and Jeffrey Mucksavage.  This is a particularly valuable resource for trainees and nurses!

Invited Clinical Pharmacist (ICP) Program

The ICP program was designed to promote and increase neurocritical care pharmacy services to medical centers and universities across the country. Applicants can request a senior Pharmacy Section member to visit their institution to meet with neurocritical care and hospital stakeholders, attend multidisciplinary rounds and provide a guest lecture.

This past year Dr. John Lewin visited Research Medical Center in Kansas City, interacted with the neurocritical care team on rounds and provided a grand rounds presentation. Dr. Brianna Zinser, PharmD, was the site pharmacist lead and presented the experience at the Pharmacy Specialty Focus Corner at the Annual Meeting. Applications for the 2020 ICP are available on the NCS website. This is a great resource for institutions that would like to initiate &/or expand pharmacy services in their neurocritical care areas.  


2019 marked another productive year for members of the Pharmacy Section for articles in Neurocritical Care. A few publication highlights include:

  • The Pharmacy Section research project led by John Lewin on Current Practices of Intraventricular Antibiotic Therapy in the Treatment of meningitis and Ventriculitis: Results from a Multicenter Retrospective Cohort Study. Neurocrit Care (2019) 30: 609. This collaborative project included the following current section members: Aaron Cook, Gretchen Brophy, Jason Makii, A. Shaun Rowe, Eljim Tesoro and Sarah Clark
  • David Gagnon was the pharmacist member on the Clinical Performance Measures for Neurocritical Care: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals from the Neurocritical Care Society. Neurocrit Care (2019)
  • Micheal Strein and Gretchen Brophy contributed on High-Dose Intravenous Ascorbic Acid: Ready for Prime Time in Traumatic Brain Injury. Neurocrit Care (2019).
  • Denise Rhoney reported on the Evaluation of the Accuracy of Standard Renal Function Equations in Critically Ill Patients with Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. Neurocrit Care (2019)  
  • Colleen Barthol reported on Surveillance Ultrasound in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit: Time to Deep Vein Thrombosis Diagnosis. Neurocrit Care (2019) 30: 645.
  • Sarah Clark was the lead author on Collaborative Management Strategies for Drug Shortages in Neurocritical Care. Neurocrit Care (2019).
  • Brittny Medenwald authored Safety and Tolerability of Rapid Administration Undiluted Levetiracetam. Neurocrit Care (2019).
  • Denise Rhoney also reported on The Impact of Capping Creatinine Clearance on Achieving Therapeutic Vancomycin Concentrations in Neurocritically Ill Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury. Neurocrit Care (2019) 30: 126.

Congratulations to all members of the NCS Pharmacy Section who had their hard work published this past year!

NCS Annual Meeting

The Pharmacy Section had great engagement through the Annual Meeting with speakers, moderators and workshop/course directors. Thank you to Leslie Hamilton and Christopher Morrison for promoting pharmacist involvement through the Annual Meeting Planning Committee. The pharmacotherapy workshop was directed by Aaron Cook and showcased presentations on:

  • Drug Dosing in Plasmapheresis by Dr. Sherif Mahmoud, BSc, MSc, PhD
  • Paroxysmal Sympathetic Hyperactivity by Dr. Alejandro Rabinstein, MD
  • Unique Routes of Medication Administration by Dr. Amanda Lamer-Rosen, PharmD, BCCCP, APh
  • Assessment & Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome in Neurocritical Care Patients by Dr. Salia Farrokh, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP
  • Unique Monitoring Strategies in Anticoagulant/Antiplatelet Reversal by Dr. Shaun Keegan, PharmD
  • Emerging Treatment Strategies for Adult Refractory Status Epilepticus by Dr. G. Morgan Jones, PharmD, BCCCP, FCCM

The following Pharmacy Section members participated in the 2019 Annual Meeting:

  • Theresa Human presented during the Essentials of Neurocritical Care course and during the Crossroads between Oncology and Neurocritical Care: CAR-T cell Therapy, Pharmacology, Neurotoxicity, and Developing a Care Pathway in your NICU session
  • Aaron Cook presented during the research mentoring program and during the Guideline Update session
  • John Lewin was the course director for the Future Leaders Forum and Debated on Controversial Topics in Neurocritical Care
  • Emily Durr presented during the Penetrating Brain Injury – Civilian and Armed Forces Experiences session
  • Kat Chester presented in the High Speed Critical Care in the NeuroICU – Pushing the Envelope and the Optimizing Outcomes: Improved Care Transitions and Early Rehabilitation session.
  • Leslie Hamilton presented during the Current Topics in Acute Ischemic Stroke: Groin, Blood Pressure, and Drugs session
  • Jeff Mucksavage presented during the Subarachnoid Hemorrhage – 2020 Beholds! Session
  • Shaun Keegan presented on Brain Death: Controversies and Updates
  • Michael Wagner and Salia Farrokh also debated on Controversial Topics in Neurocritical Care
  • Casey May presented during the Delirium Identification and Treatment: The Canary in the Neurocritical Care Unit session
  • Salia Farrokh provided Updates in the Management of Refractory Status Epilepticus
  • Gretchen Brophy presented the updated pharmacology session for the new release of ENLS (4.0) course.

Please visit the on-call section of the NCS website if you are interested in any of the presentations from the 2019 Annual Meeting.

Finally on the fundraising front, the “Drug runners, Eh?” 5K team raised $1,000 placing them in 1st place for the Run for Research rankings, and our very own Theresa Human was the Lip Sync Battle Fundraising winner with $3,490 and put on quite the performance of Carley Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” with guest appearances by Eljim Tesoro and the Trainee Section.

Presidential Citations and Awards

The NCS Presidential Citation is an award that recognizes members who have shown exceptional support and dedication to NCS and have contributed to the neurocritical care community. Pharmacy Section recipients at the Annual Meeting include Megan Barra, Karen Berger, Aaron Cook, Salia Farrokh, Theresa Human and Jason Makii.

Section recipients of the 2019 Annual Meeting Travel Grant include Michael Erdman, Dyan Fleming, Adis Keric, Scott May and Michael Wagner.

Our very own Aaron Cook was the section representative who was inducted as a Fellow of the Neurocritical Care Society (FNCS) at the Annual Meeting. Congratulations to Aaron!

Pharmacist engagement in NCS continues to remain very high and we encourage all members to get involved within the Society. Feel free to contact me to share ideas and to get involved within the section. On behalf of the Pharmacy Section leadership, thank you to the section members for another successful year. We look forward to working with everyone in 2020.


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