Tips from your pharmacist and the American Pharmacists Association
Who should you turn to with questions about your medicines? The answer should be your pharmacist but you may not know what your pharmacist can do for you. Your doctor and your pharmacist are a powerful team, working to ensure the best selection and management of your prescription and nonprescription medicines.
Taking your medication correctly is one of the best ways to decrease your health care costs. Each year, thousands of people end up in the hospital, fail to get better and waste money than because they did not take their medication properly.
Pharmacists are the medication experts. You might not realize it, but they do much more than count tablets and pour liquids. For each prescription dispensed, your pharmacist must check to see that the information provided by the prescriber is complete, that the new medication will not interact with other medications you are taking, that the medication and dosage are appropriate for your health condition and that you understand the proper way to store and take the medication.
Ultimately, you have the responsibility for managing your health care, but your pharmacist can help if you keep him or her up-to-date about your health and the medications you are taking. For this reason, it is important to use the same pharmacy for all of your prescription services, especially when seeing multiple health care providers. This ensures that your pharmacist has access to your complete medication history when checking for problems or possible interactions.
You should also check with your pharmacist before taking any nonprescription medication. Even though they do not require a physician's prescription, nonprescription medicines are powerful and can, if taken improperly, adversely interact with your prescription medications or badly affect another health condition. Make sure your pharmacist is aware of any allergies to medications so adverse reactions can be prevented.
By working together with your pharmacist, you can be sure that your medications are taken safely, effectively, and appropriately to maintain your good health. Pharmacists want you to know that they are always available to advise you about your medications.