“Hi, I’m here to pick up my medicine.” A quick thank you and I bolt out of the pharmacy. That is the kind of customer I was before I married a pharmacist. Now, of course he just brings it home but he has taught me the importance of knowing your pharmacist and educating yourself about the medicines you are taking.
We actually do not take a lot of medicine at our house but there are lots of you who take daily medicines. It doesn’t really matter what category you fall into, it is still valuable to ask questions about your medicine.
I asked my husband recently to work with me on a post about important questions to ask your pharmacist. Let’s face it. We don’t want to be there but chances are we will be driving through our local pharmacies at some point this year. So here are 6 questions to be sure to ask your pharmacist next time you are getting a new medicine.
What is this medicine for?
This is always a good question to start with. A lot of times I felt like I already knew the about the medicine, however, not only may you learn something you did not know but it can also serve as a safety check. Pharmacists and technicians are accurate >99.9% of the time but they are human so mistakes can happen. Likely, they will catch it before it gets to you but it is always great to have that extra check. An educated patient almost always leads to better health outcomes.
What is the best way to take this medication?
It says on the bottle, right? This is actually a loaded question. Do you take the medicine with food, without food, scheduled or as needed? Does it need to be taken during the same time each day? Would it be best to take this in the morning or before bed? Should I take this with my other medicines or separately? There are a variety of reasons for taking medicine a specific way that likely will not be listed on the bottle. And chances are you didn’t discuss this with your doctor because really that is your pharmacists’ area of expertise.
What are the most common side effects?
Most medicines have hundreds of so called side effects but there are usually just a select group that are commonly seen in patients. Knowing this information ahead of time can prepare you if you encounter a side effect later. You will not be alarmed if it is a common minor side effect or you may be aware that you need to contact your doctor if it is a serious concern. It will also help answer the many questions listed in the previous question. For example, if drowsiness is the most common side effect you will not want to take that medication in the morning. Moms, we are already drowsy from not enough sleep. Who wants to add to it by taking the medicine at the wrong time, right?
How long should I use the medicine?
I hate taking medicine so as soon as I can stop I will. When talking about antibiotics, it is important the entire course be finished to ensure the bacteria is eliminated. It may not be the same with every medication so it is important to discuss this with your pharmacist.
Do you have my child’s drug allergies on record?
If your child has allergies it is critical the pharmacist has those drug allergies in their computer system. The computer system will alert the pharmacy of any drug that is related to the allergy. Many pharmacists see hundreds of patients per day and it is impossible for them to remember every single allergy. So if you are a parent make sure they have this listed for reference. Your doctor will likely have this allergy listed as well but it is important to communicate this information on the pharmacy level as well.
Are there any coupons or promotions that work with this prescription?
I hate being surprised by an expensive medicine. Ugh, the worst! Probably, the majority of the time there is nothing that can be done. But…yes there is a but. Sometimes your pharmacist may know of a manufacturer coupon, generic form of the drug that is cheaper or another promotion you may qualify for. It never hurts to ask.
Asking your pharmacist these questions and educating yourself about the medicines prescribed to you is making your health a priority. Do you have any questions to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.
Also, I’ll be collaborating with my husband on future posts about staying healthy, medicines and questions from you guys. So let me know if there is a topic you would like to discuss and I’ll be sure to add it to the list. If you don’t want the world to see your question just jump over to my contact page and send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Have a great rest of the week!
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