Pharmacists are highly trained health experts who provide a wide range of services and play an essential part in your health care team. As advancements in technology and healthcare evolve, pharmacists increasingly provide more healthcare services aside from filling prescriptions.
They are an excellent source of both prescription and over-the-counter medication information. However, many people don’t know what questions they should be asking their pharmacist.
We put together this guide with the top five questions you should ask your pharmacist the next time you fill a prescription.
What does a pharmacist do?
A pharmacist’s duties include, but are not limited to:
- Dispensing prescription medications
- Conducting health and wellness testing
- Helping to manage chronic diseases
- Advising patients on the safe and proper use of their prescriptions
- Medication management
- Ensuring medicines and doses are correct to prevent harmful drug interactions
- Administering immunizations (i.e., flu vaccine, COVID-19 vaccine)
Questions to ask your pharmacist
Could over-the-counter drugs, herbal medicines, vitamins, or other drugs interfere with this medication?
Many prescription drugs shouldn’t be mixed with other medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements due to the possibility of severe and unwanted side effects. Some herbal supplements and vitamins can even make certain prescriptions less effective when taken together. Even medications deemed “natural” can still contain ingredients that can cause significant interactions with prescription medications.
Every time you visit your doctor’s office, bring a list of all the supplements, vitamins, and medications you are currently taking. Include the dosages and times a day you take each medicine. Furthermore, you should also consult with your pharmacist about drug interactions before starting any new medication.
What’s the best way to store my medications?
Properly storing your medications can help ensure they work as they should and prevent poisoning/overdosing accidents.
Many medications can lose effectiveness if you don’t store them correctly. Here are a few quick tips when it comes to proper storage:
- Because of moisture and heat, the bathroom medicine cabinet is not an ideal storage space.
- Medicines shouldn’t be stored on the bottom shelf of any cabinet, especially those with under-the-cabinet lighting, as the light is a source of heat.
- Medications should not be left in the car for an extended period of time.
- Store medicines in a cool, dry area.
- Always make sure they are stored where young children can’t reach them.
Certain medicines have special storage requirements, such as refrigeration. Therefore, it’s always best to ask your pharmacist about the storage needs of your prescriptions.
Always check the medicine bottle or package labels for necessary instructions for your medication.
What should I do if I miss a dose of my medication?
Depending on the medicine and medical condition, missing a dose could have no harmful effects or severe adverse results. It’s normal to forget to take a dose of medication from time to time.
If you miss a dose, the next step depends on the type of medication you are taking. Some medicines may need to be taken as soon as possible, while others can be taken at the next scheduled dose.
Knowing what to do if you miss a dose is critical. Therefore, you should always ask your pharmacist about each medication’s specific protocols for a forgotten dose before starting the prescription.
What are the side effects of this medication?
Many medications cause side effects, though not all are necessarily serious. That’s why it’s essential to ask your pharmacist what to expect from the prescription and ways to combat side effects if you experience a reaction.
Often medications may have a long list of potential side effects listed on the bottle or the prescription pamphlet. Even if there is a long list of possible side effects, you should ask your pharmacist about the most frequently reported adverse effects.
Is there a more affordable option for my prescription?
Your pharmacist can recommend more affordable options, like generics, if you have trouble paying for your medications.
One way to cut down on the cost of medicines is to use a home delivery pharmacy and have your doctor prescribe a 90-day supply.
Read more about possible financial assistance with your medications.
Pharmacists can provide education and resources to help you understand and manage your condition and medications. Communicating with your pharmacist, whether it’s a new prescription or one you have been taking for years, can help reduce complications related to your medications.
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