Tap Into Your Pharmacist

Pharmacists are often underutilized and undervalued. Most people do not realize that these healthcare professionals are highly knowledgeable about medications and can provide invaluable guidance to patients. As a vital medical team member, pharmacists can assist patients with understanding prescriptions, potential drug interactions, and possible side effects. When visiting a drugstore, take advantage of the opportunity to consult with a pharmacist and ask these 5 questions.


1. What is the purpose of this medication?

Doctors are responsible for prescribing medication and giving basic information about a prescription. Yet, there is often more to a prescription than is explained. Patients may have additional questions or need further clarification on the purpose and intended effects of a medication. In such cases, the pharmacist can provide a more detailed explanation and ensure that the patient fully understands the reason for taking the medication. Without being too technical, the pharmacist can set expectations and help the patient understand how the drug works to help with the health issue.

2. What are the potential side effects?

Prescription drugs can come with side effects ranging from mild to severe. Patients and healthcare providers often overlook these side effects. The pharmacist can fill in this knowledge gap. Pharmacists spend years learning the chemical makeup of drugs. Many are well-versed in the potential side effects of various medications and can offer guidance on managing or minimizing symptoms. Some pharmacists even specialize in specific treatments, like fertility, and can share more detailed information with patients. This question helps patients make informed decisions about overall medication use, preparing for potential adverse effects.

3. Any drug interactions or contraindications?

Statistics show that 24% of Americans take more than 1 prescription drug. When adding a new drug or supplement, there is a chance of unpleasant interactions with existing prescriptions. Patients should always consult the pharmacist to check for potential drug interactions or contraindications. The pharmacist can review the patient’s medication list and assess for potential interactions or contraindications. The pharmacist may also provide alternative medications or adjust the dosage to avoid harmful interactions. By asking this question, the patient can ensure the safety and effectiveness of the medication regimen and reduce the risk of adverse reactions.

4. What is the recommended dosage?

Before leaving the pharmacy, always confirm the recommended dosage. This information is crucial to avoid underdosing or overdosing. Underdosing can worsen a condition, while overdosing can lead to severe complications, including hospitalization. The pharmacist can provide clarity on any specific instructions for taking the medication. Patients may also need guidance on the timing of doses, whether the medicine should be taken with food, and what to do if a dose is missed.

5. Does insurance cover this medication?

Since medicines can be costly, patients can check with the pharmacist to see if insurance covers the prescribed medication. Some pharmacists can pull up the coverage details using the computer system, while other providers may need to guide patients to outside resources that can verify insurance. The insurance question can also kickstart a conversation about cost savings. The pharmacist can recommend alternative medications, such as generics, which may help the patient financially.

Your questions matter

Pharmacists are often the most accessible and knowledgeable healthcare professionals available after leaving the doctor’s office. These medical experts will not hesitate to provide guidance and answer medication questions. Patients can and should speak openly to pharmacists to ensure the safe and effective use of all medications. Don’t be intimidated by drugstore lingo. The pharmacist will work to explain the ins and outs of the prescription in an easy-to-understand manner.


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Convenient and quality service. Ive never had my prescriptions filled quicker and the pharmacist took the time to tell me about what I was taking.

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