The 10 Most Important Questions To Your Pharmacist
Your pharmacist is an important part of your healthcare team, able to help you with interpret and evaluate information regarding your medications, but they’re often an overlooked resource. The next time you visit your pharmacy for either prescription or over-the-counter medication, don’t hesitate to speak with your pharmacist if you have any questions. Below are 10 questions to consider asking.
How long do I need to take this medication? In the case of an antibiotic, which is usually prescribed for an infection, you may only take the prescription for 7-10 days. However, for a chronic condition, such as a thyroid disorder, the medication might be something that’s required on an ongoing basis. It’s important to understand what your medication requires – and it’s also important to take the full dosage, even if you start to feel better!
Should I take this medication with food or on an empty stomach? In some instances, taking meds with food might be necessary because taking it on an empty stomach can make you feel sick. In other cases, meds can have an interaction with or be ineffective when taken with certain foods. It’s important to know the proper way to take each medication.
What time of day should I take this medication? All medications are different! Sometimes taking them in the evening is recommended, while others suggest taking them in the morning. Your pharmacist can point out the reason behind taking your medicine when it’s suggested.
What are the possible side effects of this medication? By discussing any possible side effects with your pharmacist, you will be prepared should you experience any unusual sensations while taking your medicine. Sometimes side effects can even be managed by taking into account some of the above (when you eat and when you take your meds).
What if I miss a dose? As your pharmacist will explain, in some cases, you should go ahead and take that missed dose. In other cases, you should wait until it’s time for your next dose.
Are there any possible interactions? It’s important to share a complete list of all your meds, both prescription and over-the-counter, including supplements, vitamins, and herbal remedies, with your pharmacist to help alleviate any interactions. Also, your pharmacist will point out any possible interactions with certain foods, even exposure to sun, that can impact the effectiveness of your medication or your health.
How should I store this medication? For most medications, a dry, cool temperature is suggested for storage. There are certain medications that require refrigeration, however. Ask!
How should I dispose of this medication? Medicine take-back programs (www.fda.gov/drugs) are a great option for medication disposal. In some instances, flushing and using the trash are approved, too. Ask your pharmacist for guidelines.
Is a generic available? Using a generic medication can usually save you money while providing the same benefits as a brand drug. If you’re not receiving the generic, ask for it!
Am I getting the best price possible? By using your FamilyWize prescription savings card, you can ensure you are receiving the best possible price on your medication. Anyone can request a card by printing one at www.FamilyWize.org/card or by calling 1-800-222-2818.
FamilyWize also has a drug lookup tool. Before leaving your home to pick up your medication, taking a minute to look up the pharmacy with the best price can help you save significantly at the pharmacy.
Your doctor may have other money-saving suggestions or tips.
Based on your condition, the prescription your doctor prescribes, and your personal situation, you may have additional questions for your pharmacist. Remember: your pharmacist is happy to help you with any questions or concerns, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.