10 Top Things your Local Pharmacist wants you to know

Pharmacists in general are healthcare professionals who are involved in all aspects of medicine delivery to patients. Your Pharmacist prepares and packages medication(s) that a doctor has prescribed and also recommends and sells medications over the counter (OTC) if needed. Your Pharmacist will explain what your medication is for, how it works, what to expect when taking the medication and what to look out for.

Your Pharmacist has a degree in Pharmacy which provides your Pharmacist with an understanding of the biochemical mechanisms of drugs, drug uses, therapeutic roles, side effects, potential drug interactions, and monitoring parameters.

So what are the 10 top things your Local Pharmacist wants you to know?

1. Refill Your Medications Early

Do not wait until you have only 3 days left. You may be cutting it too close. Call your pharmacy when you have at least 7 days of medication left. This would allow the pharmacist to order more medication if needed and also contact your provider if you are out of refills.

2. Patience is Critical in the Pharmacy

I agree with Burt’s Good Neighbor Pharmacy who stated that “patience is critical in the Pharmacy”. The Pharmacist knows you are a busy person or you have had to wait so long to see the doctor and finally get this prescription. Sometimes picking up a prescription is a breeze, but at other times it may take a little longer.

Try to call ahead and ask when the prescription would be ready. This would prevent long waits or multiple trips to the Pharmacy.

3. Check Your medications at the Pharmacy

It is always a good idea to check your medications before leaving the Pharmacy counter. For a new medication, you can ask your Pharmacist what it is used for. If it is a refill, you can check to make sure it looks like the previous one. If it looks different, bring it to the attention of the pharmacist. It may just be a change in manufactures or you may have caught a potential mistake.

4. Read the instructions carefully

Always read the instructions carefully. Is the medication to be taken before, during or after food? Should it be chewed or taken whole with a full glass of water? Should the doses be taken at once or divided throughout the day? If you are not sure, make sure you ask your pharmacist.

5. Do not break or chew

Do not break or chew your tablets unless instructed by your Pharmacist or provider. Some tablets and capsules have been formulated specially to deliver the medication at particular times. Breaking or chewing may cause you significant harm and treatment failure.

6. Medication storage

Store your medications in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight. Do not store in the bathroom or kitchen because these places are usually warm or damp. It might also be advisable to store away from the reach of children and other family members.

7. Insurance issues

Most people who come to the Pharmacy have some form of Pharmacy benefit plan. It is important to understand the details of your benefits long before you need to use it. Some plans have a deductible, copay, coinsurance or a mixture.

They also have a formulary list based on the particular plan you or your employer have subscribed to. If you provider prescribes any medication not on the list, your insurance would not cover the cost and will require you to pay the full cost.

Due to the high cost of medications, your Pharmacy benefit plan is constantly creating ways to reduce the financial burden on you or your employer. These include programs like the need for prior authorization, quantity limits, step therapy to mention a few.

Your plan may sometimes restrict which pharmacy you can use, but they will usually allow you to fill your first prescription of a particular medication anywhere. This is a great opportunity to use your local Pharmacy so you can know if the medication is a right fit for you or not.

8. Over the Counter medications/Herbals/Vitamins – Consult your Pharmacist

Over the counter medications, herbal remedies and vitamins are not always completely safe. Read the instructions carefully. Always consult your pharmacist to make sure it is compatible with your health condition or current medications.

9. Returning Your medications to the Pharmacy

According to an article by Bobby Davis Pharm D, “In general, once a medication has left the pharmacy it cannot be returned”. There may be a few exceptions to this rule but most pharmacists stick to this rule to ensure your safety.

If you have old, expired, or unused medications that you want to dispose of, call your local Pharmacy and ask if they have a medication take-back program. If they do not have one, call your township and ask them how to dispose of medications or hazardous products.

10. Get to Know Your Local Pharmacist

As I mentioned earlier, your local Pharmacist has an understanding of the biochemical mechanisms of drugs, drug uses, therapeutic roles, side effects, potential drug interactions, and monitoring parameters. They are very accessible and can answer your medication related questions.

There are so many things your local Pharmacist would like you to know but I think these are the top 10. At mywebpharmacist.com we focus on public education and medication counseling. Check us out when you can and happy reading.

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