Written By Anita Ginsburg / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
When you pick up a new prescription, the cashier usually asks if you want to consult with the pharmacist. You may not take advantage of this valuable opportunity, but perhaps you should. Asking these five questions of your pharmacist can reduce the chance of a prescribing error and help you understand how to use your medication.
What Is This For?
Your doctor should explain why they prescribed a certain medication, but it’s easy to forget or misunderstand. Asking what a medication is used for can help you understand why you need to take it. If it’s for a condition you don’t believe you have, tell the pharmacist. It might have been prescribed for an off-label use or it could be a mistake.
How Do I Take This?
Directions printed on prescription bottles by a drugstore can be hard to see or read and may be abbreviated or shortened in a way that you don’t understand. Ask at the drugstore for the pharmacist to review with you how and when the doctor wants you to take the medication. Sometimes, even the order in which you take medications can make a difference in whether they work or not.
What Are the Side Effects?
If you have dry mouth or sleepiness when you take a drug for the first time, it may be a common side effect that you can learn to live with. Some side effects like diarrhea, dizziness, or skin reactions may be intolerable or a sign of an allergy to the medication. The pharmacist can tell you what to expect and what is a sign of trouble.
Are There Interactions?
Doctors and pharmacists should check for interactions between new prescriptions and things you already take. If you go to several doctors or don’t have all your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy, harmful interactions may be missed. Be honest with your pharmacists so they can advise you about potential problems. Ask about food interactions too.
What if I Miss a Dose?
You should use care to avoid missing a medication dosage, but life can get in the way of even the most carefully planned medication schedule. Find out from your pharmacist if you should skip a dose or take it as soon as you remember. Double dosing is almost always a bad idea, but only your pharmacist can tell you what’s best when you get off track.
Pharmacy professionals are trained to answer your questions and spot problems. Take advantage of the few moments you have with your pharmacist to talk about your medications. Your health is your responsibility, but it makes sense to use all the help you have available.
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Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, Colo. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn't writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.