Worried About Your Prescription?
Prescription drugs play an essential role in health and wellness. Some can suppress or even stop unwanted symptoms from a chronic condition. Others form part of a treatment regimen to eliminate the disease altogether. Whatever the reason, some patients are anxious when starting a new medication. After all, prescriptions come in more potent doses than over-the-counter drugs. Additionally, some are potentially harmful or habit-forming if misused. When filling a new prescription, consider asking the dispensing pharmacist these 4 questions about the medication.
1. What are the side effects?
A prescription medication typically contains powerful active ingredients to help with serious issues. These ingredients can help with symptoms but may also cause side effects. Pharmacists have a wealth of knowledge on drugs and potential impacts on the patient. Some side effects are mild, but others can be serious or affect the quality of life. If necessary, the pharmacist can advise on ways to minimize or counteract the side effects.
2. Any interactions to worry about?
Prescriptions tend to work differently when mixed with other drugs. In some cases, even supplements, herbs, or certain foods can affect medication. For example, some herbs can neutralize the active ingredients in certain medications, reducing efficacy. Drug-drug interactions may create a severe allergic reaction or increase the risk of side effects. A pharmacist can advise of potential interactions and perform a medication review to identify possible dangers and recommend changes.
3. What happens if I miss a dose?
Patients must take medicine correctly and on time to get the maximum benefits. However, 1 in 3 people misses at least 1 dose in a prescription. Taking medication on time can be challenging with busy work, personal, and social lives. The high cost of drugs also affects how consistently prescriptions are taken. So, what happens when a dose is missed? The pharmacist will recommend what to do, depending on the drug used, the condition being treated, and how much time has elapsed. For multiple missed doses, check with a doctor first before resuming the medication.
4. How long do I need to take this medicine?
The pharmacist can give the patient an idea of how long the drug must be used for the best results. Some medicines are only necessary for a few days or weeks. Others are indefinite, requiring a long-term plan. The pharmacist can discuss the risks of stopping the medication too early and concerns to watch for with more prolonged use. Once the prescribed course of medicine is completed, revisit the doctor for more guidance if the issue persists.
A trustworthy resource
More than 60% of Americans use at least 1 prescription drug. These drugs must be taken safely and consistently. A pharmacist has a wealth of knowledge on medication and how each drug reacts with others. A conversation with the pharmacist when filling a prescription can help patients tap into this fantastic resource, improving overall health.