Are You Starting A New Drug?

Medications, prescription or otherwise, have become an accepted part of life. Some treat acute problems like headaches or infections. Another prescription medication is necessary to treat chronic diseases. About 1 in 2 Americans take at least one prescription, so at some point, a doctor may prescribe a new drug. Before starting a new drug, speaking with a pharmacist is a helpful step in using the medicine effectively?

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Should you consult your pharmacist first?

Pharmacists are subject matter experts in medicines. Most people see pharmacists as individuals who dispense prescriptions. However, these trusted medical personnel can help patients take drugs safely and effectively. Pharmacists use a wealth of knowledge to consult with patients and recommend the proper medications for the best results. When receiving the prescription for the first time, ask the pharmacist the following questions.

How should I take this medication?

Patients must take some medicines in specific ways to get the maximum benefit. Prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs will have instructions on the labels. However, this should not be left up to chance. Some work best with meals. Others may need to be administered via injections. The pharmacist can instruct patients on the proper way to take medicine.

Are there any side effects?

Medicines aren’t perfect. While treating one symptom or condition, other ingredients can cause unwanted reactions. If patients are unaware of the side effects, the drugs can lead to a medical emergency. A pharmacist can explain the possible side effects and the steps to manage these issues.

Would this drug affect my other prescriptions?

Some patients have multiple prescriptions to treat various conditions. Adding another pill can affect these drugs. Pharmacists are skilled in understanding and preventing drug interactions. Asking this question can encourage the pharmacist to perform a medication review. Reviewing the medication can help pharmacists find any dangerous interactions. The pharmacist can then change the prescription after consultation with the patient’s doctor.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

Drugs work well when the right dose is taken consistently. Sometimes, a patient will miss a dose, but there could be dangerous consequences if this happens frequently. The pharmacist can explain what to do if a patient misses a dose. Patients can skip some drugs without issue, but others may need to be changed. The pharmacist will explain the necessary steps to ensure the patient’s health and safety.

Is there another form I can take?

Most drugs come in pill form, which could be difficult for some patients to take. Patients may have trouble swallowing pills or would prefer a more convenient form. The pharmacist can change the prescription to a liquid. Some even provide compounding, a unique service that creates custom drugs to meet the patient’s needs. If another form is available, the pharmacist can help.

How long do I need to take this medication?

Drugs can treat both acute and chronic issues. Some medicines, like pain medication or antibiotics, are used for a specific timeframe. Other drugs are needed indefinitely to manage a long-term concerns like high cholesterol or a heart condition. The pharmacist can explain how long the person should take medicine and the consequences of non-adherence.

Trust your pharmacist

Pharmacists have extensive knowledge of drugs and how these drugs will help a patient. Before starting any medication, start a conversation with this expert. Even a supplement, herb, or over-the-counter drug can affect other medicines. The goal of treatment is to improve the health and wellness of the patient. Both patient and pharmacist should work together to leave nothing to chance.

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