It’s Time To Talk To Your Pharmacist
After a trip to the doctor’s, some patients leave with a new prescription. Doctors prescribe medication with the patient’s health and safety in mind. That does not mean patients should not be vested in the process. Medicines can cause unwanted side effects or dangerous drug interactions when mixed improperly. Therefore, there’s no one better to discuss the next steps than a pharmacist. While filling the prescription, ask the pharmacist these 5 critical questions.
1. How should I take this medicine?
The question sounds simple but taking the medication the right way determines the effectiveness. Patients must take some medicines several times a day, some with meals and others on an empty stomach. The pharmacist should advise the patient of the times, dosage, and administering instructions. If there are any discrepancies between the doctor’s and pharmacist’s instructions, this question should clear things up.
2. How long would I be using the medicine?
Doctors and pharmacists sometimes overlook the length of use. Some drugs, such as antibiotics, are required for just a few days or need time to take effect, and other medications for ongoing chronic conditions could be indefinite. The pharmacist can outline the best times to use the medicine and the consequences of missing doses.
3. What are the side effects of taking this medicine?
Medication side effects are one of the reasons patients neglect to take medicine consistently, and some patients are unaware these side effects even exist. The pharmacist should disclose any side effects and the possibility of experiencing these reactions. Severe side effects may need medical attention, so ask about the signs and when to take action.
4. What about drug interactions?
Some patients, particularly seniors, have multiple prescriptions. Would this new prescription affect the others or vice versa? Drug-to-drug interactions aren’t the only concern. Some supplements, foods, alcohol, and recreational drugs can change the drug’s effectiveness or cause harmful responses. Drug interactions are sometimes overlooked, so make sure to raise this concern.
5. Can you help me save money on this drug?
Americans pay more for prescription drugs, almost 3 times more than anywhere else in the world. However, that does not mean there aren’t ways to significantly reduce the cost of medicine. Pharmacists can connect patients to government assistance programs and other incentives that reduce the price. Different pharmacies may have access to generic alternatives or can compound cheaper alternatives, and these options can even be better than some high-deductible insurance plans.
Asking questions about medication is non-negotiable. Every year, Americans die from medication errors or dangerous drug interactions. Some of these errors are avoidable with the right questions. Make sure to complete some due diligence with new prescriptions. Patients unsure of the impact of a new drug should have a medicine review with the pharmacist.