Prepping Your Prescription: Always Ask The Pharmacist

Asking the pharmacist questions in an important part of taking medications. No one should feel uncomfortable about it. A good pharmacist is always prepared to address a patient’s concerns. Here are five routine questions to ask the pharmacist when picking up a prescription.

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1. Are there any possible drug interactions?

This is an important question and does not only refer to drug-to-drug interactions but also food and beverages. Some medications interact with foods, like grapefruit, adversely.  Supplements should also be taken into consideration before starting a new medication.

2. Is this a brand name or a generic version?

Drugs that have been around for a while may have a generic equivalent. Some drugs, despite their longevity in the market, should only be the brand name as the generic version may have a different delivery methodology. Check the prescription to see if the doctor has written DAW on it. This means dispense as written, and in this case, the pharmacist must provide the name-brand version. This is a topic to discuss not only with the pharmacist but also the prescribing physician.

3. Medication timing and with an empty stomach or with food?

How and when medications are taken can affect their efficacy. In order to be properly absorbed, some medications need to be taken on an empty stomach, while others need to be taken with food to avoid adverse side effects. Timing may also matter and is important to take medications as prescribed.

4. What if a dose is missed?

Sometimes people forget to take their medication on schedule, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they can double up next time to make up for it. It all depends on the type of medication and what it’s intended to treat. So, this is a very important question to ask the pharmacist.

5. Are there any refills on this medication?

This is important to ask if it is a medication that is intended to be taken over the long-term. If the pharmacist says that there are refills, the next question should be about what needs to be done to obtain a refill. Sometimes patients can call the pharmacy, other times they need to be present.

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