Sabina Gapany, PharmD, is a University of Minnesota Physicians (M Physicians) clinical pharmacist with expertise in epilepsy care and drug resistant depression. Dr. Gapany came to the United States from Germany in 1986. After graduating with a BSC in Biology and Pharmacy from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, she worked as a community pharmacist overseas, but in the U.S., she decided to pursue a clinical career. For several years, she moved around the country with her husband, who is a physician, before settling in the Twin Cities for the PharmD program at the University of Minnesota.
“I thought that as a pharmacist I could have an opportunity to do more than just dispense medications–I wanted to gain an understanding in their mechanisms of action and interactions with other drugs, and to provide counseling to physicians and other healthcare providers in optimizing medication use,” Dr. Gapany said.
Now, as an integral member of the M Physicians St. Louis Park Clinic, she works within a dedicated and cohesive team to treat epilepsy and treatment resistant depression.
For epilepsy, Dr. Gapany is working to improve drug treatment outcomes by identifying potential drug interactions, choosing the appropriate medication dosage, minimizing drug side effects and titrating the dosing of anti-seizure medications.
The first step in epilepsy care is choosing proper medication. However, a significant percentage of patients don’t respond to initial treatments. In such cases, Dr. Gapany is consulted to review the patient’s history of previous drug therapy and make recommendations for specific interventions.
In treatment resistant depression, where multiple medications fail to control the symptoms, other treatment options are now available. They include transmagnetic stimulation (TMS), ketamine infusion, IM injections and esketamine nasal spray, Vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) implantations and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Here, Dr. Gapany helps the team by selecting proper treatment options after a thorough review of patients’ medical history and in-person interviews with them. At the end of this process, Dr. Gapany determines whether previous antidepressant drug therapy was optimized, which informs the physician during further clinical decisions.
Dr. Gapany’s pursuit of a career in clinical care turned out to be the best decision for her. She enjoys the continual learning process that comes with the introduction of new drugs and treatments and she finds the work to be personally rewarding.
As a clinical pharmacist, Dr. Gapany helps patients navigate the complexities of their condition and works to find pharmaceutical solutions for those who are suffering. Controlling a person's seizures can dramatically improve their overall health and quality of life.
What motivates me most is the positive feedback that I get from my patients... when the treatment succeeds and they feel better. Also, the great teamwork we have at our clinic gives me professional satisfaction and motivates me to be the best I can. Another aspect of my professional career is teaching the next generation of pharmacy students, which is also a source of fulfilment.