When you visit your pharmacist, don’t just hand them your prescription and wait for it to be filled. Your relationship with your pharmacist should go two ways, and so should your conversation. It isn’t enough to just tell them the drugs that you need. You should be telling them about your medical history and your medication list, and you may be asked for more details. If you have any questions regarding your medicine, you should be able to ask them without any inhibitions. This is why it’s so important to choose a good pharmacist.
They should be someone with whom you are comfortable and with whom you are easily able to talk to.
Make the most of your pharmacist by asking the following questions when you go to pick up a new drug:
What is the medication called?
Every medication generally has two names. There is the common, or generic name, and the brand name. The brand name is the name that is used to market a specific manufacturer’s drug - Tylenol, for instance. The generic name tends to refer to the normal name of the medication, like paracetamol. Your medication label may state one or the other, but most commonly it will state both. It would be a good idea for you to know both the common and the brand names of the medications that you are taking.
What is the medication supposed to do?
Some drugs are used to cure or treat something, while others are used to manage symptoms. It’s important for you to know what you should expect from your medicine so that you aren’t waiting for something that isn’t going to happen.
How is the medication to be used?
Medications often have certain times of the day when they are most effective, but some just need to be taken at regular intervals. It’s important for you to know how often you should take your drug, how much you should take, and how exactly to take it. Some may require you to orally take it before a meal, some may require you to cut it in half and have it before bed.
It’s also important for you to know what to do if you miss a dose and how you know it is working. This will allow you to monitor and evaluate yourself as you take the drug so you can head back to the doctor if there are any signs that things aren’t right.
How long should I be taking the medication?
There are some drugs that you may take for a couple days, there are some that you may take for a week or two, and there are even some that you’ll have to take for the rest of your life. It’s important for you to know how long you will be on that medication so if necessary, you can shift your lifestyle to accommodate.
Is there anything that should be avoided while taking this medication?
Some medications may require you to avoid eating or drinking certain things or even refraining from driving and exercising for a time. This is important for you to know so you don’t affect the performance of a drug or even put your own or someone else’s life in danger.
What do I need to know about the side effects?
Many drugs come with a list of side effects. Some may be severe, some may just be mild inconveniences. Whatever it is, it’s important that you know about it and are prepared for it. If you do suffer from side effects, ask your pharmacist if there are any alternatives or ways to cope with them.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffering from a terminal illness, be sure to let your doctor and pharmacist know so that they can prescribe medications that will work for you. If you need additional information, don’t be afraid to ask.
If you choose to stop taking a certain drug, talk to your pharmacist. They may be able to find you an alternative or recommend a different way to deal with your problem. Everyone responds to drugs differently, so don’t feel ashamed of having to let them know that you don’t want to take yours. Pharmacists are there to help, so use them!